2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, more commonly known as 2,4-D, is a selective broadleaf herbicide found as the active ingredient in more than 1,000 herbicide formulations in the United States.
It is important to dilute 2,4-D with the proper ratio of water to prevent any damage to your lawn.
So how many ounces of 2,4-D do you need to mix per gallon of water?
As a general rule, you will mix 1-5 ounces of 2,4-D herbicide per gallon of water. Since the potency of 2,4-D varies by manufacturer, read the labeling and mixing instructions on the container for the correct ratio. Add a surfactant to your mix to help it stick to plants and increase its effectiveness.
Keep reading to learn more about how to properly mix 2,4-D, including adding a surfactant and the mix ratios according to application.
Is 2,4-D Safe For Your Lawn?
2,4-D is a post-emergent herbicide formulated to kill broadleaf weeds while leaving your lawn intact.
However, if 2,4-D is not mixed correctly or too much is applied, your grass will damage.
Signs of using too much 2,4-D include:
- Brown or dead grass
- Pale yellow grass
- Parched grass
To prevent doing damage to your grass, always read the application instructions on the product label.
You may think using a stronger 2,4-D mixture will kill more weeds, but it will scorch your grass and do a lot of damage to your lawn.
Between 1-5 ounces per gallon of water is what you need to aim for in your 2,4-D mixture, depending on the product’s potency you choose.
When you apply the proper mixture of 2,4-D to your lawn, it will effectively kill broadleaf weeds without harming your grass.
Application Rates For 2,4-D
In addition to having the proper mixture of 2,4-D per gallon of water, it is vital to ensure the herbicide is also applied correctly.
The manufacturer instructions on the product label will provide information on how to dilute the 2,4-D and how many square feet the diluted mixture will safely cover.
For example, a hi-yield 2,4-D formula is normally diluted using 5 ounces of herbicide per gallon of water.
You will then apply one gallon of this mixture for every 1,000′ square feet of your lawn.
If the mixture is applied at a rate of one gallon for every 500′ square feet of space, this is twice what is recommended for application, and your grass will be damaged.
On the other hand, if you apply the same 2,4-D mixture over a much larger area than recommended, you will not have the desired results for weed control.
Once again, the application rate of the 2,4-D mixture will depend on the potency of the herbicide as well as the instructions on the product label.
Mix Ratios For Different Uses
The Mix Ratio Of 2,4-D For Backpack And Pump Sprayers
The mix ratio for 2,4-D will vary depending on the size of your backpack or pump sprayer.
Mixing 2.5 ounces of 2,4-D concentrate in one gallon of water is enough to treat up to 400′ square feet of your lawn.
To cover 800′ square feet of your lawn, double the herbicide mixture by mixing 5 ounces of 2,4-D with 2 gallons of water.
Mix 7.5 ounces of 2,4-D in 3 gallons of water to increase your coverage area to 1,200′ square feet.
Always apply the diluted 2,4-D herbicide evenly over your lawn to ensure proper coverage.
You do not have to soak your lawn with the herbicide for it to be effective.
Applying too much 2,4-D to your lawn will harm your grass.
The Mix Ratio of 2,4-D for Water Hose Sprayers
There are also spray applicators that attach to the end of your garden hose for easy application.
The reservoirs on these applicators will hold up to 16 ounces of herbicide, but you will only need to use around 6.5 ounces of 2,4-D to cover 1,000′ square feet of lawn space.
Use the dial on the sprayer to set it to release 2.5 ounces of 2,4-D for every gallon of water.
You do not need to add any water to the sprayer reservoir because the sprayer will automatically dilute the herbicide correctly as water flows through the hose.
Sixteen ounces of 2,4-D concentrate in the sprayer reservoir will cover up to 2,500′ square feet of your lawn.
To find the total square footage of your lawn, you will multiply the length by the width.
The Mix Ratio of 2,4-D for Spray Bottles
If you have small areas of weeds you would like to spot treat, using a chemical-resistant spray bottle with a mixture of 2,4-D is an excellent option.
For a 32-ounce spray bottle, mix 1.25 ounces, 2.5 tablespoons, of 2,4-D with enough water to fill the spray bottle.
A 32-ounce spray bottle will hold enough of the herbicide mixture to cover up to 250′ square feet of space.
This makes it much easier to treat weeds growing in your garden or small cracks of your driveway or sidewalk.
Do You Need To Add A Surfactant To Your 2,4-D Mixture?
Surfactants are usually mixed with herbicides to help them stick to plant leaves more effectively.
Using a surfactant with 2,4-D will ensure the herbicide can kill the weeds before the product is washed away by rain.
Several commercial surfactants are available on the market, and the mixing rates for these are listed on the product label.
Alternatively, the regular dish soap may be used in place of a commercial surfactant.
One tablespoon of dish soap per gallon of water will help the 2,4-D stick to weeds, so the herbicide can work with maximum effect.
Add the surfactant and 2,4-D to your backpack sprayer or spray bottle before adding the water to achieve a uniform mixture of ingredients.
Is 2,4-D More Effective With Other Herbicides?
2,4-D is commonly mixed with other herbicides, usually Dicamba, to make the herbicide more effective.
Combining 2,4-D with Dicamba will ensure the herbicide mixture kills a wider variety of weeds.
If you have stubborn weeds you are having trouble eradicating with your regular herbicide, you may want to consider using 2,4-D mixed with Dicamba.
Both 2,4-D and Dicamba are selective post-emergent herbicides, but they work differently from each other.
When combined, a 2,4-D and Dicamba mixture will kill a wider range of weeds, including the more stubborn varieties.
Always read the manufacturer’s instructions on the product label for the proper dilution ratio for any herbicide you choose.
Speaking of herbicides, you may want to check out our article on how long after spraying Roundup you need to wait before planting grass seeds.
When To Spray 2,4-D
As a general rule, a 2,4-D herbicide will be used twice per year.
Spray in the early spring when weeds are just beginning to sprout, and then again in the fall at the end of the growing season to prevent the weeds from wintering over and re-emerging when the weather is warm.
Repeat application times may vary according to the product manufacturer, so be sure to read the label for the proper instructions.
The minimum waiting period is 30 days between applications of 2,4-D.
To avoid accidentally spraying herbicide on undesired areas, do not spray on a windy day.
To prevent grass burns, spray 2,4-D when the temperature is below 90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C) and wait at least two days after mowing the lawn before application.
You will need to wait at least two days after applying the 2,4-D herbicide to mow your grass as well.
If you have a newly seeded lawn, wait at least six weeks before spraying 2,4-D herbicide.
For newly sodded, sprigged, or plugged lawns, wait four weeks before using 2,4-D.
2,4-D Application Tips And Warnings
Not all grasses are immune to the effects of 2,4-D, so it is best to research the type of grass you have to make sure the herbicide is safe to use on it.
The product label on the herbicide will also usually state which grasses are safe for application as well.
Use a fan-type nozzle to ensure even application over large areas.
For best results, avoid 2,4-D application under drought conditions.
Always wear protective clothing, including goggles, gloves, long sleeves, and pants when spraying any type of herbicide on your lawn.
Even if you wore gloves to apply the 2,4-D, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Take extra caution about where you step when applying the 2,4-D to ensure you do not inadvertently track the herbicide through undesired areas of your lawn or your home.
Allow the 2,4-D to completely dry before letting pets and children play on the lawn.
Keep the 2,4-D herbicide in its original bottle and properly dispose of any empty containers for extra safety.
To avoid contamination, never apply an herbicide near a body of water and never spray food crops or flowering ornamental plants.
Commonly Asked Questions
How long does it take for 2,4-D to kill weeds?
After applying 2,4-D to your lawn, weeds will begin to show signs of dying within 48 hours.
It may take up to 14 days for the herbicide to produce full results.
How many gallons is an acre of 2,4-D?
For spraying a larger area, such as a field or other non-crop areas, you will need to know how much 2,4-D to mix for an acre.
It is recommended to use one gallon of 2,4-D mixed in a 15-gallon sprayer of water per acre.
The maximum application rate is 1.8 gallons per acre in one season, with a limit of two applications in one year.
How long does 2,4-D need to be on before rain?
It is best to apply a 2,4-D weed killer at least 24 hours before it rains to ensure the herbicide has had time to penetrate the soil.
Different formulations of 2,4-D vary as to when they are rainproof.
2,4-D combined with amine may take 6-8 hours to be rainproof, while an ester formula will be rainproof within an hour.
It is recommended to wait for the entire 24-hour waiting period to be on the safe side.
Is 2,4-D harmful to bees?
2,4-D is virtually harmless to the bee populations.
However, the 2,4-D herbicide is slightly toxic to fish and aquatic animals and moderately toxic to birds and mammals.
Be sure to check your location for any hidden waterways or areas which may contain wildlife.