Should You Spray Weeds Before Or After Rain? Best Time To Spray

Spraying noxious weeds in your garden with herbicides is an easy and effective method for controlling these nuisance plants. In practice, though, this is not always as easy as it sounds. For instance, should you spray your weeds before or after the rain if bad weather is predicted? If so, how soon after rain can a herbicide be applied? Read on to find out!

Weed killers require different times to dry before or after it rains, depending on the product.

You are not alone if you have tried weed killer multiple times without success. Herbicide-containing weed killer application is trickier than it sounds. If you don’t use the right herbicide at the right time, your work will be for naught. The type of weed you are trying to eradicate, its life cycle, and the current weather are just a few factors to consider.

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Giving the herbicide enough time to kill the weeds before REstarts to rain is essential. For weed killers to do their job, there must be at least an hour between application and the onset of rain. All your hard work would be for naught if it started raining any earlier. It would help if you also waited for the leaves to dry out after a shower before spraying with herbicide to prevent the herbicide from being washed away.

Are you still puzzled about what you should do? Then, read this post, and we will tell you everything you need to know about timing your weed spray.

How Can Rain Affect Herbicide Application?

Some herbicides require a dry, rain-free duration of about 5 or 7 hours.

It can be difficult to time the use of burndown herbicides properly. Rainy circumstances can directly impact the effectiveness of burndown herbicides, in addition to slowing fieldwork. Rainfall occurring shortly after herbicide application can potentially decrease herbicide uptake, translocation, and weed suppression. So, if you apply a herbicide and it rains before it has even had a chance to become rainfast, the herbicide won’t work.

To get the most out of your herbicide, wait the recommended amount of time between application and rain, as specified on the package. This wait time is known as the “rainfast period.” Rainfast ratings are determined under favorable growing circumstances. However, poor conditions may necessitate a longer gap between application and rain to ensure effective herbicide translocation into the weed before it is washed away.

The table below shows rainfast ratings for some common herbicides:

HerbicideTime (hours)HerbicideTime (hours)
Verdict1Gramoxone SL0.5
Touchdown Total1Fierce1
Touchdown HiTech1Extreme1
Sharpen1Engenia/ FeXapan/XtendiMax*4*
Roundup WeatherMax0.5Banvel4
Roundup PowerMax0.5Aim1

Can I Spray Weeds Before Rain?

Spraying soon before the rain, with enough time to meet label requirements, can provide effective weed control.

Herbicides, whether systemic or non-systemic, pre-emergent or post-emergent, have varying degrees of effectiveness during the different seasons. Furthermore, if you know what kind of herbicide you are going to use, you’ll better understand when to use it.

Depending on various variables, certain weed killers can be put on a lawn or garden before it starts to rain, while others cannot. If you want to know whether or not it is safe to spray your weed killer before it starts to rain, you need to carefully read the instructions on the label. In addition, confirming the active component of the herbicide you’ve selected is another important step in figuring out the best application window. 

It is also good to keep an eye on your area’s weather forecast. The rainfast duration should be listed on the label of any herbicides that can be used while it is raining. 

Therefore, if you are interested in purchasing a product that features a rainfast component, you should be aware that the recommendations for the rainfast period can differ from one product to another. All in all, you must allow the herbicide sufficient time to get dry and then get taken up by the weeds before the rain washes it away. 

The physical form of a herbicide will also play a role in determining whether or not it can be used before it rains. This is described in detail below.

Granular Herbicides

Granules are the method of choice for me when it comes to the eradication of weeds because of how easy they are to use. Additionally, most of them are formulated to function more effectively if administered before it rains. You only need to remember that granules could be carried away by heavy rain and may wind up in unwanted locations.

Spray Herbicides

When a liquid herbicide has completely dried, it is considered ‘rainfast.’ In the event that it has not been sufficiently dried, and then the rain begins to fall, it may cause an excessive amount of herbicide runoff, with very little to no effect on the weeds later on. 

Even light rain can dilute the liquid or spray herbicides to the point where they will no longer be effective, even if runoff does not occur.

Think About Your Environment

Herbicide runoff is problematic due to its potential effects on non-target creatures in receiving habitats.

It is essential to protect the environment, which is one of the key reasons you should spray your lawn several days before it is expected to rain. Since it is difficult to forecast the weather, you must spray your yard twenty-four hours before it is predicted to rain heavily.

The oxygen levels of aquatic life become dangerously low when weed killer is sprayed and washed into water sources like lakes. Furthermore, these products contain chemicals that are dangerous to humans, animals, and the environment. 

Therefore, if you want to protect the local environment and the magnificent creatures living in it from being harmed, you should wait to spray until after it has rained.

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Some Timing & Safety Tips For Herbicides

You are strongly advised to abstain from eating, drinking, and smoking while using weed killers.

Here are a few tips which will help you get the most out of your herbicide:

  • You might wish to check the wind speed and direction before applying herbicide if you plan on doing it before the rain starts. When there is a breeze, you should not spray the weeds. Wind can cause the herbicide to drift, which can result in the herbicide causing damage to plants that you did not intend to kill.
  • Applying immediately after rain is similar to spraying before the rain as the weeds are still wet, and the herbicide will wash away. Rainwater can also dilute the herbicide, reducing its effect. So, do not spray immediately following rainfall. If you want the spray to work, you’ll need to wait until the leaves are dry.
  • Even if the pesticide is washed away by rain, only one application of certain pesticides, including herbicides, is permitted per season. Therefore, if spraying in the rain reduces the effectiveness of your herbicide treatment, there may be fewer options available for subsequent applications of the product.
  • If you are short on time and there is a chance that it may rain soon, it is preferable to spray the area before the rain rather than after it. This is due to the fact that it may take many hours for the foliage of your grass and weeds to dry entirely after a downpour, particularly if the weather continues to be moist.
  • Always carefully follow the instructions on the label.
  • After applying weed killers, make sure you properly wash your hands.
  • You must abstain from eating, drinking, and smoking while using weed killers.
  • Always protect yourself when using weed killers by wearing protective gear.
  • Immediately wash your skin with soap and water if you get weed killer on it.
  • Keep kids and pets away from locations where herbicide has been used.

How Does Weather Affect Herbicides?

Spraying weed killer on a wet lawn reduces its effectiveness.

The weather greatly influences the efficacy of a herbicide spray. Here is how:

Extreme Cold Or Heat

Conditions that are either excessively hot or extremely cold will not function well with herbicides because, in extremely hot temperatures, the liquid will evaporate before being absorbed, and in extremely cold conditions, the liquid will freeze.


Since there is no point in spraying when the wind is strong, we need to wait until it calms down, which typically occurs in the morning and at night. For this reason, we need to minimize spray drift, which occurs when the herbicide is carried to other parts of the yard by wind and causes the death of plants that were not intended to be affected.


Spraying weed killer on a lawn after it has been exposed to rain will cause the weed killer to become less effective and will also dilute the spray. Therefore, we should wait at least 24 hours before the rain stops before spraying the plants. However, if the area receives a lot of rain, you can also use rainfast weed killers.

Spray Weed Killers By The Time Of The Day

Spraying weed killer when there’s dew on the plants is ineffective since the spray dilutes.

Weeds have peak times during the day when they are most likely to flourish if you do not take care of them. These times vary depending on the climate.

Warm Climate

In warm climates, when daytime temperatures are around the 80s, and nighttime temperatures are in the mid-70s to low 60s, herbicide treatment is most effective.

In Temperate Climate

Due to the fact that plants, including weeds, are at their least active from dark until the following day after sunrise, the best time to spray in a location with moderate temperatures (temperate climates) is either in the late morning or early afternoon.

In Cold Climate

It is a waste of time to spray weed killer on plants that have dew on them since the spray will be too diluted to be efficient. Likewise, harsh winters are also worthless if the soil is iced or buried in snow. However, if there is no snow and the ground is not frozen, the best time to do it is in the middle of the day when the sun is out.

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Spray Weed Killers By The Season

While weed killers are most effective in the warm season, that doesn’t imply they can’t be used in the winter.

spray weeds

In Fall

It is recommended that you perform two treatments, each spaced out by two weeks, throughout the month of October. Then, wait till spring to see that most of them are gone for good if they don’t die off immediately. Weeds are particularly susceptible to herbicide application, especially post-emergent herbicide, in the fall.

In Summer

If you are going to spray during the summer, then make sure that you do it right before the summer ends. By removing weeds at the end of the summer, you will reduce the severity of the problem next spring. Also, apply the herbicide in the late morning or early afternoon so that it will be effective against a wide variety of invasive grasses.

In Spring

The spring is the best time to spray weed killer since it is warm, and we have the opportunity to apply pre-emergent during the early spring to prevent them from germinating. After that, we should wait eight weeks and then use the post-emergent so that we may eradicate the tougher weeds while they are still in their juvenile stages.

In Winter

Even though weed killers are at their most effective when temperatures are higher, that does not indicate that they cannot be used in the winter. Then, all we need to do is time our spraying for the middle of the day when the sun is out. If the chemicals are left to freeze overnight, there is a possibility that they will lose some of their effectiveness.

Best Time Of The Day To Spray Weeds

The best time of day to apply weed killer products is early morning and late afternoon.

spray weeds

If you live close to a neighbor who is also planning to spray weeds, you should also consider speaking with them and sharing your plans. This is to ensure that they and their property are not disrupted in any way by your actions.

The weather is an important consideration when determining the best time to spray for weeds, which means that the answer to this question will change depending on the time of year. The application of most herbicides is most effective when carried out during dry and hot weather but not during long periods of drought. 

Timing For Post Vs. Pre-Emergent Herbicides

Post-emergence herbicides are applied to weeds when they are still immature and vulnerable.

Herbicides, known as pre- and post-emergence treatments, are sprayed on areas where weeds are just beginning to develop. When the weeds are still young and fresh, post-emergence herbicides are administered to kill them. 

This kind of herbicide penetrates the plant tissue and kills weeds as soon as they come into touch with it. On the other hand, pre-emergence herbicides are frequently utilized on established lawns. These herbicides aid in interrupting the life cycle of weeds. 

This pesticide should be applied by gardeners before the seeds of weeds begin to germinate and then again eight weeks following the initial spraying.

Spray Weeds When It’s Hot & Dry

Most experts think it’s preferable to spray stressed weeds after rain than in dry conditions.

spray weeds

If it is at all possible, you should refrain from spraying herbicides while the temperature is above 90 degrees. Weeds go dormant and are unable to absorb herbicides when extreme heat is present. In addition, temperatures in the low nineties or higher can impede the uptake of herbicides. Therefore, you should hold off until things have cooled down for a few days in order to safeguard your lawn from weeds and further stress.

Spray The Weeds After The Rain

Wait for the leaves to dry out after rain before spraying, or the herbicide may be swept away.

spray weeds

Herbicides are most effective when sprayed on dry leaves; if the leaves are wet when the herbicide is applied, the chemical may simply run off the leaf without being taken in by the plant. Moreover, w Waiting for conditions to be dry is good because certain weeds love to sprout after it has rained. Waiting for days without rain not only prevents Mother Nature from washing away any of the product before it has a chance to work on the weed, but it also assures your safety. Just be sure that there won’t be any more rain in the forecast; trying to sneak in a brief spritz in between the rain showers won’t work very well in this scenario.

Ideal Conditions To Spray The Weeds

Most herbicides work best when the weather is hot and humid.

Considering all of the different factors that must be considered, it can be challenging to control the weeds in your garden successfully. Investing in a weed killer that does not consist of herbicide is an excellent strategy to circumvent all of these issues. 

This is because it will be less impacted by various variables, including the weather. Additionally, spraying weeds during periods of cold weather is impractical for a number of reasons. When temperatures are low, the metabolism of weeds slows down. 

As a result, the herbicide takes longer to affect the plant. Weeds also become more tenacious when the weather is hot and dry, which slows herbicide uptake. 

Therefore, it is best to get rid of weeds in the spring or fall because hot weather reduces the effectiveness of herbicide-based weed killers, which is why it is best to get rid of weeds in the spring or fall. Other situations when weed killer is most effective include:

Mild Weather (Spray Weeds)

Weed killers are more effective when the temperature is on the warmer side, but working in either extreme (too hot or too cold) is still challenging.

When The Weather Is Clear And Calm (Spray Weeds)

A strong blast of wind can carry the spray away from the intended location. Therefore, a more peaceful day on which you can zero in on the exact location is ideal.

When It’s Unlikely To Rain (Spray Weeds)

Do not apply a weed killer in the rain. To put it another way, the herbicide’s effectiveness after being taken up by the plant will decrease if it becomes diluted.

Final Thoughts

Since herbicides are most effective when applied to dry leaves, it is possible that spraying immediately before or after a shower will be a waste of time and product. If you want to know how long after application of weed killer it is safe for it to rain, you should always check the instructions on the label of the weed killer product you use. 

Also, if you are ever unclear about when it is safe to water your plants again, you should get in touch with the manufacturer to get some clarification on the matter. 

Furthermore, before spraying weeds, you should always examine the weather forecast, including the temperature, wind, and rain, regardless of the current weather conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does the Roundup need to be on before rain?

Weed and grass-killer chemicals from Roundup should be applied on dry, warm, and windless days for the best results. However, if it looks like it could rain soon, don’t worry; all of the Roundup products should dry and become rainproof within 30 minutes to 3 hours, with some drying and becoming rainproof even more rapidly.

How long does weed killer take to dry?

Depending on the temperature and humidity, the drying time for many herbicides can range anywhere from 24 to 78 hours. Weed killers’ chemicals work only after being absorbed by the soil. This absorption can occur only if the soil is moist. However, the effectiveness may be diminished if it rains during the first six hours after application.

How long does 2,4-D need to be on before it rains?

Even though the product just takes a few hours to dry, it is best to let it sit on the surface for at least 24 hours before applying water on top of it. This guarantees that the 2,4-D will be able to penetrate plant systems and eliminate weeds effectively.

Does weed killer stay in the soil?

Herbicides break down into the soil and remain there for a long time. The water removes the weed killer from the soil as the plants are watered regularly throughout the growing season. If not washed away, however, as the plants develop and compete, the weed killer also degrades into smaller molecules within the soil.

How long do you wait to water after you spray weeds?

It is essential to wait at least two to three days before and after spraying before watering it. This will give the weeds time to grow and spread their leaves, and it will also give the pesticide time to work its way down to the roots of the plants.

Sources for Further Reading

How Temperature and Rain Can Affect Burndown Herbicides. (2018). Retrieved 9 November 2022, from

Pre-emergence Herbicides, Dry Soils, and Rain | Integrated Crop Management. (2022). Retrieved 9 November 2022, from

Johnson, B., & Zimmer, M. (2022). Soil Applied Herbicides And Rainfall For Activation. Retrieved 9 November 2022, from

Besancon, T. (2020). Weather Conditions and Herbicide Performances. Retrieved 9 November 2022, from

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