WSU Extension


Lawn and Turf : 2,4-D damage
(revision date: 3/12/2014)

Bentgrasses are commonly used for lawns in western Washington and found as weeds in eastern and western Washington. Both weedy species and cultivated varieties are susceptible to damage by 2,4-D, an ingredient often found in turfgrass fertilizer-herbicide ("weed and feed") products and in broadleaf weed killers used in lawns. Well-established, healthy grasses may tolerate some damage, but young plants and those stressed by environmental conditions are very susceptible to damage. 2,4-D is translocated within the plant tissues and also damages the root system of affected grasses, affecting nutrient and water uptake. Early symptoms may resemble those caused by root disease or drought injury and include yellowing and dieback of leaves followed in severe cases by death of the plants. Other factors which may affect the amount of damage occurring include temperature (higher temperatures often result in more damage) and the particular 2,4-D formulation used (esters are more damaging than amines).
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Do not apply products containing 2,4-D to desirable bentgrass. If products containing 2,4-D must be used, select only those which are formulated for use on bentgrass and follow label directions regarding application rates very carefully.
  • Do not apply herbicides during hot weather.
  • Do not apply herbicides to newly seeded grasses.
  • Stressed plants are more susceptible to herbicide damage. Maintain healthy turf through proper fertilization, irrigation, and mowing practices.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

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Photo by: Beth Staley