The Q&A Archives: Weed control safe for trees

Question: The most important thing in our landscape to us is an 18 year old Shumard Red Oak. There are LOTS of grassy and broadleaf weeds all around it (about 50% of the turf). What can we use that will not harm the tree to get rid of the weeds?

Answer: Any broadleaf weed killer (one containing 2,4-D) will affect your tree so stay away from those products. Probably the safest chemical is one containing glyphosate (Round Up is an example). It is a contact killer and as long as you keep it away from desireable trees and shrubs it won't harm them, but will be effective in killing the weeds - and the lawn, I'm afraid. Glyphosate does not translocate in the soil and it degrades in the presence of sunshine and fresh air. When the weeds are dead, rake them out of the area and prepare the soil for planting.

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