Does Triclopyr Kill Grass?

Triclopyr is a commonly used herbicide for controlling broadleaf and woody plants in a variety of settings. While it can be effective in managing weeds and invasive species, it is important to understand its mode of action and potential impact on non-target organisms, including grasses.

What is triclopyr?

Triclopyr is a synthetic herbicide that belongs to the pyridine carboxylic acid family. Its chemical name is [(3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinyl) oxy] acetic acid. It is available in various formulations, including ester and amine forms.

Triclopyr is commonly used in forestry, agriculture, and home and garden settings to control a wide range of broadleaf and woody plants, including invasive species like kudzu and honeysuckle.

Mode of action

Triclopyr works by disrupting the growth and development of target plants. It is absorbed through the leaves and stems and moves throughout the plant, causing cell death and inhibiting growth.

Triclopyr primarily targets broadleaf plants, but it can also be effective against some woody plants. It is not effective against grasses, making it a selective herbicide.

Effects on grass

Triclopyr is generally safe for most grasses when used properly. However, the impact on different types of grass can vary depending on factors like application rate, timing of application, and environmental conditions.

Cool-season grasses, like fescue and bluegrass, are generally more tolerant of triclopyr than warm-season grasses, like Bermuda and zoysia. However, even cool-season grasses can be damaged if exposed to high concentrations of triclopyr.

To minimize the impact on grass, it is important to apply triclopyr carefully and at the appropriate rate and timing. Environmental conditions, such as temperature and moisture, can also affect the impact of triclopyr on grass.

Safe use of triclopyr on lawns

To protect grass when using triclopyr, it is important to follow proper application techniques. This may include using low-pressure sprayers to minimize drift and avoiding application during periods of high temperature or drought.

Alternatives to triclopyr for controlling grassy weeds include manual removal, mulching, and using other herbicides that are safe for grass.

Environmental considerations

Triclopyr can pose potential risks to non-target organisms, including wildlife and aquatic life. It can persist in the environment for several months, and may accumulate in soil or water.

Triclopyr is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States, and its use is subject to specific guidelines and restrictions.


Triclopyr can be an effective herbicide for controlling broadleaf and woody plants, but it is important to use it carefully to minimize the impact on non-target organisms, including grasses. By following proper application techniques and considering alternatives, it is possible to use triclopyr safely and effectively.


  • Nathan Collins

    Having spent years working in the landscaping industry, Nathan Collins has cultivated a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. He is committed to helping others appreciate the beauty in their backyards, whether it's through identifying rare rocks and minerals or crafting the perfect landscape.

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