You can yank weeds out by hand or use an herbicide to eradicate them. Find the best tool for the job in your yard.

It's important to use the right tool for the job. And herbicides are tools that help us perform tasks in our landscapes.

While herbicide might be a four-letter word to some, it is simply a product used to kill a weed. It can be an organic or a conventional product.

Understanding which tool is right for the job is critical to achieving your goals. Herbicides can be categorized as preemergent or postemergent.

Preemergent herbicides kill the weed before it emerges from the ground, typically not allowing it to get past the germination phase of growth. Preen, Amaze and Dimension are a few examples of a preemergent herbicides. These are excellent products to use on a newly prepared beds and the lawn to help prevent weeds from coming up.

A postemergent herbicide kills weeds after the germination phase. In other words, the weed is actively growing and needs to be removed.

Postemergent herbicides can be broken into two categories: selective and nonselective.

Nonselective herbicides, such as glyphosate and pelargonic acid (organic option), kill weeds and other plants it comes into contact with.

A selective herbicide kills one type of plant while not harming others. An example of a selective herbicide is 2,4-D. This product is often used in the lawn because it kills broadleaf weeds but does not harm grass.

Understanding herbicides and how to use them properly and when to use them is important in lawn and garden maintenance. Herbicides may not always be the best approach to weed management in your lawn and garden. There are many ways to keep certain weeds out of your gardening areas, such as mulching, mowing and just pulling it up.

Assess your lawn and garden this spring. Determine which weeds you have had in the past and which weeds you currently have. Then ask yourself which is the best tool to use.

Got a question?

Email gardennews@agcenter.lsu.edu. Follow Lee Rouse on Instagram, @rouses_horticulture.