Many homeowners face the daunting task of trying to control or eliminate dandelions and other broadleaved weeds in their lawn. Of course you can always pull or dig them out by hand, but that can be back-breaking work and leave your lawn looking like the aftermath of a golf game (divot stomping, anyone?). The trick is finding a way to selectively kill the weeds without injuring the lawn. Ortho Elementals Lawn Weed Killer promises to do just that.
Safer Than Most
This broadleaf weed killer is part of the Ortho Elementals line from Scotts-MiracleGro, a line of products intended to be more environmentally friendly than other weed and pest control products. It’s supposed to be safe for children and pets but, as with any chemical, we recommend that you wear protective clothing (gloves, long sleeves, closed shoes) when spraying it and that you allow it to fully dry before letting children or animals into the area.
The Lawn Weed Killer is made with a naturally occurring form of iron called iron HEDTA (or FeHEDTA) that disrupts plant growth at the cellular level. Because broadleaved plants take up iron differently than do turf grasses, FeHEDTA kills the weeds but doesn’t affect your lawn.
Effective on Broadleaved Weeds
We tried the product on a variety of broadleaved weeds, both in the lawn and growing in cracks in impermeable surfaces (e.g., paved driveway, brick walkway). The initial results were spectacular. Within 24 hours the dandelions had turned completely black, the white clover and chickweed had shriveled into brown specks, and the broad-leaved plantain wasn’t looking very happy.
The weed killer liquid is brown so we were concerned about possible staining on the bricks or the whitewashed foundation of the house near where we sprayed, but there were no signs of staining at all.
Ortho does say that best results require a second application after 3 or 4 weeks, so we expected to see some regrowth. As you can see from the photos below, the dandelions quickly sprang back to life. Hmmm. We sprayed them again after 3 weeks. Same results. After another 3 weeks we gave them another spray. This time the weeds stayed dead. The clover only needed 2 applications. The plantain will probably need a 4th.
FeHEDTA does not stay in the soil so there’s no residual left to continuously affect weed growth. That makes the spray safer for humans and the environment, but means that you’ll have to spray several times for effective weed control.
One thing we noticed was that the spray tended to bead up and roll off the leaves of some weeds, rather than sticking to the surface. Not surprisingly, those weeds needed more applications before they succumbed.
The nice thing about Elementals Lawn Weed Killer is that you only spray the weeds, not the entire lawn, so you use less than with conventional weed killers. It dries quickly (within 3 hours) and is then safe to touch. And it really does not hurt the grass; if anything, the grass looked greener after applying the weed killer!
The best times to control weeds are in the spring and fall, so if you have a lot of dandelions to eliminate, now’s the time to get on it!
We give Ortho Elementals Lawn Weed Killer a 4-shovel rating. It’s safe and with repeated use, it’s effective. But if you only have a few weeds to eliminate, why not simply pull them out and be done with it once and for all?
Where to Buy It
Ortho Elementals Lawn Weed Killer is available in a 24 oz. Ready to Use spray bottle, as well as a 1 gallon Pull ‘N Spray container. You’ll find it at all the big box stores, many hardware stores and garden centers and it’s also available online from Amazon in the 24 oz. size for under $12.
Disclaimer: We received a free lawn weed killer to test and review for the Gardening Products Review. There was no expectation that it would be a positive review, and we received no compensation for writing the review.
Please note that the Amazon link above is an Amazon affiliate link. Should you choose to purchase Ortho products through this link, GPR will make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) that helps to support this website and our gardening product reviews. Thank you!