Tordon can be useful when you need to control brushes or brambles around the edges of your yard. As Tordon is powerful enough to take out trees with such a small amount of product, you may be wondering, “Does Tordon kill grass?” The product does claim to only take out broadleaf weeds and woody plants and trees but is it really safe to use around a lawn? What happens if you spill a whole bottle of Tordon right on the grass? You can find these answers below.
Does Tordon Kill Grass?
No, Tordon should not kill lawn or pasture grass. Like most selective herbicides, Tordon only targets certain types of plants. In this case, these targeted plants are broadleaf species and woody plants or trees and bushes.
What Will Tordon Do to a Lawn
Whether you’re looking to use Tordon Gold, Tordon 22k, Tordon Ready-to-Use or any other popular Tordon weed-control preparation you should see similar effects. All of these products use the herbicide “picloram” as their main ingredient. The different labels are used for different types of preparation (such as pelleted, spray-able, or granular) or dilution strength.
Tordon products are selective herbicides that work as auxin mimics. This means they convince certain types of plants to produce more of the hormone auxin. This hormone stimulates growth. Too much auxin can cause plants to grow out of control at the cellular level to the point of death.
Most common types of grass do produce some types of auxin but they are not sensitive to the synthetic auxin in Tordon products. When Tordon is sprayed on a lawn or applied to nearby vegetation, anything susceptible to this synthetic auxin will experience a small, cellular level growth spurt. As a result of both expending so much energy so quickly and the disorganized nature of the growth, these plants will die. Grass and any plants that are immune to the effects of this synthetic auxin will be spared.
Tordon or any picloram-based herbicide can also be sprayed on a patch of ground a few weeks before planting grass with no notable effects on germination and only a small potential effect on new growth vigor. This makes picloram one of the safest herbicides to use on a newly seeded or established lawn.
Will Tordon Kill Grass and Weeds?
Tordon will spare most types of lawn grass and take out the broadleaf weeds mixed in. Tordon is effective at controlling dandelions, thistles, bindweed, clover, ivy, mallow, vetch, and chickweed. Tordon stays in the soil after application for several months, at a minimum, and prevents weed re-growth while allowing grass and other plants immune to the effects of Tordon to thrive in their absence.
Will Tordon Kill My Lawn?
While some grass types may be safe from the effects of picloram, the active ingredient of Tordon, other types may be a perfect target for this herbicide.
Will Tordon Kill Pampas Grass?
Pampas grass is typically safe from the effects of Tordon or picloram. No harm should come to decorative clumps of pampas grass or a large area of it whether the Tordon exposure is direct, overspray, or from runoff.
Will Tordon Kill Johnson Grass?
Tordon is not an effective herbicide if you’re looking to get rid of Johnsongrass. Johnsongrass may experience a slight reduction in vigor after the first exposure to picloram but this effect is temporary and will not prevent new growth.
Will Tordon Kill Crabgrass?
Tordon will harm crabgrass and other broadleaf species of grass, including tall or broadleaf fescue. These broadleaf species are sensitive to the synthetic auxin Tordon provides.
Will Tordon Kill St. Augustine Grass?
Tordon is unlikely to kill St. Augustine grass as it is not a broadleaf species of grass.
How to Clean Up Tordon Spilled on a Lawn
Tordon should be carefully absorbed, if possible. Flushing the area is not recommended unless trees or other desirable woody or broadleaf plants are nearby. The sudden addition of water, especially in areas with clay-based soils can cause the Tordon to leech further into the soil and interact with nearby plant root systems.
How Long Does Tordon Stay in Soil?
Tordon stays active and toxic in soil for up to a year after normal application. In wet, marshy, and low-clay soils, Tordon can decay in as little as one month. If water is used sparingly or clay is a primary component of the soil, Tordon can have a half-life of more than 4 years. Picloram, the primary ingredient in Tordon, will ultimately break down into carbon dioxide. Due to its high persistence and likelihood to bond to clay particles, Tordon products can easily spread from their application sites.
Tordon is Best in Small Quantities
Just like most of its packaging and directions suggest, Tordon is best used in small, diluted quantities as a preventative. If used at full strength, Tordon is best applied directly to the plant or plants you wish to eliminate or control. Overspray or spills can still harm a lawn, even if they would not under normal use. As Tordon is picloram-based it is also one of only a few herbicides that can be used around a new lawn with little chance of adverse side effects. According to the manufacturer, Tordon is not recommended for direct application to residential or commercial lawns.