Pros: convenient to use, does the job of thousands of fingers with one spraying
As I promised, in my Osmocote review, I will discuss a pretty good solution to your weeding problems. There are two products that I have used consistently in the past; one is a pre-emergent herbicide known as Surflan and the other is a post-emergent herbicide called Over The Top. I will discuss the post-emergent only here because I am still investigating whether or not the general homeowner can purchase the Surflan product or if you need a chemical applicators license to purchase.
Over The Top is manufactured by the Fertilome company and is available at most garden centers and home improvement stores that sell garden maintenance supplies. It is designed to kill soft weeds, like grass, clovers, and things of this nature. It is not designed to kill the woodier weeds that arise like poison ivy/oak or heavier weeds. The unique idea of Over The Top is, as its name implies, you can spray it over the top of your ornamental plants without causing harm to the good guys.
I have found this particularly welcomed in large beds of ground cover and ivy or around the base of desirable woody plants. This is not recommended for spray in a floral bed or vegetable bed, as those plants are generally soft plants. However, for large areas with woody plantings, you cant beat it. Of course, since it is a post-emergent, you have to wait until the bad old weed rears its nasty head.
As with all my chemicals, I prefer to buy the concentrate instead of the ready-to-use. The mix rate is 10 ounces to one gallon of water. I have always found the concentrate chemicals are just more effective than one already pre-mixed. After all, they do lose their potency after a while and who knows how long those pre-mixed ones have been sitting around.
Over The Top comes with a booklet outlining the plants you can overspray with no damage. It covers over 300 plants or plant families, which should work for almost every home garden. There are even certain flowers that can be oversprayed with no harm done, just consult the handy guide.
Ingredients include Fluazifop-p-butyl, aromatic petroleum, xylene and solvent refined paraffin distillate. Keep in mind this is a toxic chemical, so avoid exposure to skin and eyes, limit inhalation of fumes, and for heavens sake, avoid ingesting. Store in its original container, well out of the way of children or pets. Seek medical treatment if over exposed to this product. When I say it is toxic, I mean to living beings, not the environment.
I have found using this product has saved me countless hours of weeding, especially in large ground cover beds. I dont believe gardening should be a chore but a pleasure, and pulling weeds is no dang fun. It is easy to use and covers a wide array of plants you can use it with. It is a home-owner friendly product that requires no guess work or skill. It does come in ready-to-use, if you prefer that route. This is just one of the hundreds of products offered by the Fertilome company.
Thanks to the gang at H&G for this addition, especially the attention of dlstewart