Weeds are one of the biggest problems afflicting lawns today. There are various strategies available for dealing with them – hand pulling and using weed killer are two approaches you could try.
But weed killer can come with its own set of risks; it is essential that we fully comprehend how it operates and any possible harm it might do.
No doubt about it: Weed killer is an invaluable tool in any garden. However, its chemicals can be toxic; most chemical weed killers contain fast-acting and potency synthetic chemicals which may damage plants nearby and even pollute groundwater sources.
Different weed killers are tailored specifically to different kinds of weeds, from pre-emergents that attack seedlings before they have the chance to germinate, to post-emergents which target already established weeds. Some selective products only target broadleaf weeds while others can kill all plants regardless of species.
Utilizing the wrong product or timing an application can also pose problems. 2,4-D is a popular weed killer found in various feed and weedkiller products and may be harmful if consumed accidentally, while neonicotinoid herbicides such as imidacloprid, clothianidin and dinotefuran are known to interfere with bees’ foraging, reproduction and scenting abilities – leading to Colony Collapse Disorder in some instances.
Weeds tend to grow much more rapidly than your lawn or other plants, meaning they gain access to soil nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus first – leaving grass and perennials with less nutrition available for their own growth. This creates an imbalanced ecosystem which makes it harder for other plants to flourish.
Most weed killers are nonselective, meaning that they will kill all plants they come in contact with – which could result in problems such as rashes on pets’ paws or the destruction of flowering shrubs you love.
When applying weed killer, be sure to read and abide by all instructions on its label. In particular, try not to spray during windy conditions as the spray could drift and damage other areas of your garden. Apply it when weeds are at their most active growing season – generally spring or summer – diligent weeding can reduce chemical herbicide use significantly and may even make this unnecessary!
Since many chemicals used to kill weeds also kill beneficial insects and pollinators, it’s essential that we use sprays that won’t drift and harm desirable crops or harm the environment in any way.
Some weed killers are selective, meaning that they target only broadleaf weeds while leaving grass undisturbed. Others are non-selective and kill all forms of weeds. Pre-emergent weed killers may be useful in stopping annual broadleaf weeds like dandelions and crabgrass from sprouting by stopping their development altogether.
Purple deadnettle, one of the tougher annual weeds, can be particularly hard to control. Characterized by square stems with purplish-pink flowers, fertilizing your lawn regularly and maintaining appropriate cutting height for your turfgrass type can help control this tough weed. Also, pre-emergent herbicide or spot treating with Ortho WeedClear Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Use with Comfort Wand* can be applied early to tackle early stages – simply spray over small patches following label instructions!
Weed killers do not distinguish between undesirable lawn plants and desirable lawn plants, making them dangerous to both grass and flowering trees. They interfere with plant growth by blocking photosynthesis or disrupting protein production, killing plants by chelating essential nutrients like nitrogen or potassium and sometimes interfering with photosynthesis as a whole.
Even when used properly, many weed killers are dangerous to our health and the environment. RoundUp (dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) has been linked with cancer in humans as well as harming soil and water resources by polluting, decreasing biodiversity and depriving the atmosphere of oxygen.
To protect against these hazards, switch to organic weed killers that are safer for the environment, people and pets. Look for products containing plant-derived concentrates like jojoba oil or acetic acid for maximum effectiveness without harmful chemicals – an especially good choice if your household contains indoor/outdoor pets, small children or individuals with skin or breathing sensitivities.