Does Triclopyr Kill Grass?

Getting rid of weeds in your lawn can always be a tricky business. There are so many factors to consider when choosing the active ingredient for an herbicide. Systemic herbicides can be effective on broadleaf plants yet will not always affect aquatic weeds. For complete control of all weeds, there are options like round-up that will kill any unwanted plants.

In my lawn, the main culprit weeds are broadleaf plants, and it can be difficult to remove them without hurting my ornamental turf. If woody weeds or invasive summer grasses are taking over my lawn, most of the time, I use triclopyr such as Turflon Ester Ultra or Hi-Yield Triclopyr Ester to kill the annual weeds and woody plants. But there are some cases when I would never use these herbicides for weed control, the info below explains exactly why that is. 

Is Triclopyr Deadly to Grass?

There are some grasses that are not tolerant of this level of broadleaf control. Grasses like zoysia grass and St. Augustine grass will die if the lawn is treated with triclopyr. These herbicides for weed control will also kill crabgrass that is spreading through the lawn. It may take several weeks longer for crabgrass to die, as many as several weeks after application. 

Along fence rows and around yard edges where forests and wilderness builds, Turflon Ester Ultra can be used as a reliable treatment. Unfortunately, grass and woody plants that were not intended targets, like tree seedlings, can still succumb to the chemical and die in sprayed soil. Make sure you are not targeting new trees or other environmentally beneficial plants along the edges of your lawn. 

Dead Grass

Triclopyr is a strong chemical that kills some warm-season grass and is the active chemical build-up in the soil. Treatments of Hi-Yield Triclopyr Ester should be used sparingly as it can kill grass that isn’t targeted if too much is used. Never use it more than once a year, and don’t apply to properties that have a lawn younger than 2 years old. When spraying near flower beds or trees, never spray within 12 inches of woody plants. 

What is Triclopyr Used For

Hi-Yield Triclopyr Ester and Turflon are used to kill perennial weeds and stubborn weeds, as well as provide annual weed control. One of the most common uses is for annual bluegrass control on a cool-season lawn. These herbicides are a great choice when you need a selective post-emergence foliar spray for clovers and invasive warm-season grasses. 

The active ingredients in triclopyr replace plant growth hormone auxin and cause out-of-control growth. The interruption of these essential plant growth hormones can clear the properties of undesirable weeds while keeping most grass types safe. The herbicide works because some plants, like broadleaf and invasive summer grasses, are more susceptible to hormone manipulation, and that allows the herbicide to be selective. 

The selective nature of these herbicides makes them best used for heavy weed infestation in a mature yard otherwise, less intense herbicides are better to use on your lawn regularly. If your yard or golf course butts up to wilderness, you may want to use triclopyr for poison ivy and forest border control. It takes a few weeks for plants to die completely from leaf to root, but the effects will be noticeable almost right away.

This type of herbicide is not great for killing dandelions and other clovers scattered throughout a lawn or to level turf grass for removal, but rather to treat a heavy infestation in small areas or along the edges of properties. 

Triclopyr vs. Other Herbicides

Triclopyr 4 EC Compare to Garlon 4 and Remedy 1 Quart

Triclopyr works faster than alternative herbicides and acts as a selective chemical that only harms targeted plants. These herbicides can build up the chemicals in the soil and can start to alter the development of non-targeted species over time. The most common forms of this herbicide are turflon ester ultra and high-yield triclopyr ester.

In some formulas, this herbicide will not harm aquatic plants and are a great choice for waterways and golf courses. 

But there are plenty of cases of using other herbicides, both pre and post-emergent, as well as selective and non-selective types. Knowing what types of herbicides will harm non-targeted weeds or build toxic levels in the soil need to be identified so you can make the best weed control methods for your yard.

Incorporate the herbicides below into your biological control program for broad-spectrum weed control in turfgrass and yards of all varieties. 

Herbicide NameType of HerbicideHerbicide Use
TriclopyrSelective BroadleafControls broadleaf weeds and warm-season grasses in cool-season lawns
GlyphosateNon-Selective HerbicidesKills everything and is used for full-scale lawn renovation
DithiopyrSelective Pre-Emergent HerbicideControls grasses and broadleaves before they germinate
SulfosulfuronSelective Post-Emergent HerbicideKills cool-season grasses in warm-season lawns


This is a great solution to kill broadleaf plants while leaving most turf grasses unharmed. The main use of this post-emergent elective herbicide is for the control of brush and control of crabgrass in cool-season lawns. This herbicide works very quickly and will kill even resilient woody weeds in just a few weeks.

Triclopyr works by interrupting the target species’ development processes and causes abnormal growth inside the plant’s cells. Chemical exposure to this herbicide leads to the auxin being replaced and destroys the plant tissue. It is good for poison oak and other vines and woody shrubs, but it can accidentally kill ornamental plants near sprayed areas as well as trees and other desirable species. 


This herbicide is powerful and controversial. It is banned in many places around the globe, although is still available in the U.S. It is a non-selective herbicide and kills everything down to the roots, usually with additional applications. The chemical stability of glyphosate isn’t great, and runoff, as well as wind-blown herbicides, can affect any type of grass and untargeted plant species. 

Ranger Pro 41% Glyphosate 5 Gallons 2 x 2.5/Gal Jug Systemic Herbicide Same as Round Up Pro
Ranger Pro 41% Glyphosate 5 Gallons 2 x 2.5/Gal Jug Systemic Herbicide Same as Round Up Pro
Glyphosate- 41% (same active ingredient as Roundup); Residential areas, Parks and Recreational Areas

Roundup is sprayed onto the leaves of plants and once it is absorbed Inhibits a plant’s ability to create essential proteins. Extended active ingredient usage can cause glyphosate to accumulate until it bonds with soil particles and kills the area of the earth. While a common choice for clearing brush, it is not good to use for weed control on turfgrass. 


A selective pre-emergent herbicide, this chemical is best used to prevent crabgrass, clovers, and broadleaf weeds in lawns. Pre-emergents are often combined with lawn fertilizer treatments to prevent weeds from sprouting when nutrients are added to the soil.

This type of herbicide is gentler on turf grasses than triclopyr and will kill many of the same annual turf weeds. If you have sporadic growth of dandelions and other broadleaf weeds applying this can prevent future generations from germinating. 

Choosing where to apply dithiopyr is easier as it is not a threat to plants that are already growing or many of the grass types or ornamental plants we have in our yard. There is no chance of killing trees or other woody plants, making it a much better solution in yards of mixed lawn types. Once weeds have emerged, the herbicide will no longer be useful, and a post-emergent will need to be selected.


This chemical is a selective pre and post-emergent herbicide that can kill many of the invasive weeds that plague warm-season lawns. Since sulfosulfuron can kill plants that have already germinated as well as ones still underground, the application rate must be followed exactly to prevent unintended lawn damage. 

The main use of this herbicide is to remove cool-season grasses like fescue ornamental, bluegrasses, and rye grasses from lawns and grasslands. It is unsuitable for use on land that is growing food or pasture that is being graved. It is very effective on most common lawn weeds and broadleaf weeds and will hot harm turf grasses if used correctly. 

Last update on 2024-07-16 / Affiliate links / Somes Images and Data from Amazon Product Advertising API