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Roundup for Lawns - Familiar Herbicide Name, But New Product is Entirely Different

Roundup for Lawns, Nebraska Extension Acreage Insights May 2017.
The new Roundup for Lawns contains the active ingredients MPCA, quinclorac, dicamba and sulfentrazone to kill weeds but not the lawn.

New in 2017 is a lawn product name that may sound familiar. But the new Roundup for Lawns is a stark contrast from the traditional Roundup herbicide. The two products have completely different ingredients and are NOT interchangeable.

Consumers in-store or online must carefully read product labels to determine the main ingredient and use for all pesticides, but especially with the Roundup products.

Traditional Roundup Weed and Grass Killer.Consumers need to ensure they are making the correct herbicide selection, as names and labels may be very similar. “Traditional” Roundup Weed and Grass Killer (shown above) contains the active ingredient glyphosate, a nonselective herbicide that kills most plants.

Roundup Weed and Grass Killer is a brand name of an herbicide that contains glyphosate. This active ingredient nonselectively kills most plants, including both broadleaf and grasses. Homeowners may use this product to kill anything growing in cracks, between patio pavers, even entire lawns, for example. Agricultural producers also use glyphosate in their fields to kill unwanted foliage. While there may be exceptions, expect that all plants sprayed with Roundup Weed and Grass Killer will die.

Roundup for Lawns on the other hand, is the brand name of a new herbicide that does not contain glyphosate; rather it contains the active ingredients MCPA, quinclorac, dicamba and sulfentrazone. Each is a selective herbicide that controls various weeds without harming Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass or tall fescue lawns. Research trials do, however, show that some of the active ingredients in Roundup for Lawns (MCPA and dicamba) could cause short-lived injury to buffalograss lawns.

Other manufacturers have mixtures that contain similar ingredients as Roundup for Lawns and target the same weeds. Labels describe the ingredients.

Other Roundup products are also available for home use. Roundup for Lawns for use on Southern Grasses contains an ingredient that may injure some cool-season lawns. Roundup Extended Control and Roundup Max Control 365 both contain imazapic, a soil-residual herbicide that kills cool-season grass seedlings for weeks after application. Avoid using these extended control products in renovations where seeding will take place soon after application.

Roundup products may be displayed together in stores, so consumers must ensure they are making the correct herbicide selection. Furthermore, pricing differs among Roundup products; consumers should not automatically select the least expensive product, which is likely “traditional” Roundup.

Always read the label for the active ingredients and follow safety directions. When handling and applying pesticides, at minimum wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, shoes, socks and chemical-resistant gloves.

Always read the entire product label before using an herbicide.

The table below identifies uses for the active ingredients in various formulations of Roundup, and will help determine which formulation best suits your needs. 

Active Ingredients Roundup Weed and Grass Killer Roundup Extended Control Roundup Max Control 365 Roundup for Lawns (1, 2 or 3)* Roundup for Lawns (4, 5 or 6)** Typical Weeds Controlled
Glyphosate x x x Nonselective
Pelargonic acid x x Nonselective
Imazapic x x Summer annual grasses; not safe in cool-season turf; soil residualkills new seedlings 
Diquat x Nonselective
MCPA x Broadleaf weeds, especially dandelion
Quinclorac x Crabgrass, sandbur, and some broadleaf weeds
Dicamba x x Broadleaf weeds, especially white clover
Sulfentrazone x x Yellow nutsedge; typically only suppression as part of premixed products (less active ingredient)
Penoxsulam x Broadleaf weeds; may injure perennial ryegrass or tall fescue lawns
2, 4-D x Broadleaf weeds, especially dandelion

*Roundup for Lawns is sold as a ready-to-use product with an included wand (1), as concentrated herbicide (2), or for use as a hose-end sprayer (3).

**Roundup for Lawns: For Use on Southern Grasses is sold as a ready-to-use product with an included wand (4), as concentrated herbicide (5), or for use as a hose-end sprayer (6).

For more articles on lawn and turf care see

Cole Thompson
Cole Thompson
Integrated Turfgrass Management Specialist
Dr. Cole Thompson joined UNL's Department of Agronomy and Horticulture in July 2016 as the new Integrated Turfgrass Management Specialist. Cole comes to UNL after working for two years as an Assistant Professor of Turfgrass and Landscape Physiology at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. In this previous position, Cole had a primary teaching role, but is excited to get back to his extension and research roots. His expertise in applied turfgrass pathology and weed science compliments the existing skills of the UNL Turf Program.

A native of Beloit, KS, Cole received his advanced degrees from Kansas State University. His Master’s Degree research focused on silvery-thread moss control on putting greens and creeping bentgrass cultivar susceptibility to dollar spot. His Ph.D. research focused on management and control of rough bluegrass (Poa trivialis), a challenging weed to control in turf. Cole’s applied industry experience comes from his previous work as an Assistant Golf Course Superintendent and an internship with the USGA.

Contact Cole at:
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Department of Agronomy & Horticulture
133 Keim Hall
Lincoln NE 68583-0915