The constant tug-of-war between a gardener and weeds has led to a market filled with various commercial products. These products are more or less used for the same function – kill weeds and other unwanted elements in the garden or on a farm. Depending on the scale of greenery, certain methods seem realistic and some don’t. 

Let’s start with the difference between herbicides and insecticides/pesticides. As the name suggests, herbicides are used to kill weeds and insecticides/pesticides are used to kills insects and bugs, although some of them can also be used on weeds. Sometimes people spend a lot of time and energy pulling out these unwanted plants. There are easier ways to do it. Herbicides are made to kill weeds by directly scorching them or by disrupting their biological functions such as respiration and photosynthesis. 

Contact herbicides kill only the parts of the plant they touch. Systemic herbicides are absorbed by foliage or roots and translocated to other parts of the plant. Pre-emergence herbicides, mixed into the soil, will kill germinating seeds and small seedlings. Post-emergence herbicides either hinder photosynthesis or inhibit growth.

However, we have to be careful while choosing and using herbicide. Chemical herbicides can contain inorganic compounds such as ammonium sulfamate, carbon bisulfide, sodium chlorate, sulfuric acid solutions, formulations containing borate, sulfuric acid, iron sulfate, copper nitrate, and ammonium and potassium salts. These ingredients are harmful not only to plants but also to other good and useful insects and worms. The chemicals absorbed by the plants show up in the human body when we consume any harvest. It is also likely that nothing can be planted in the soil where the chemical herbicide was used since it changes the soil compound and is almost rendered useless to grow anything.

An alternative method would be to use products with organic and safer ingredients. The active ingredients in such products would be Acetic Acid, Citric Acid, d-limonene (Citrus Oil), Clove Oil or Clove Leaf Oil, Cinnamon Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Eugenol, 2-Phenethyl Propionate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Nonanoate, Pelargonic Acid+Fatty Acids. On every label, you will also find ingredients under the title of inert ingredients, surfactants, and adjuvants. These ingredients in organic herbicides are always organically based.

The organic products are contact herbicides. They are required to completely cover the weed. The organic components remove the waxy plant cuticle or damage cell walls causing the weed to lose too much water and die. The effectiveness of these organic herbicides varies depending upon the type of weed, the size, and even the weather. These organic herbicides work best on weeds that are less than four inches tall.

Other natural methods include using straight vinegar, pouring boiling water on the weed, or solarization. Using vinegar at full strength disrupts the water retention ability and ultimately dries up the weeds. It usually requires more than one treatment for it to die completely. Pouring boiling water on the weeds scorches it, resulting in the weed dying completely. Solarization is covering the weed completely with a layer of fabric during the hottest 6 weeks of summer. After the 6 weeks have passed, the weeds along with their seeds will be dead.

One should make an informed decision while choosing a herbicide since it has health and environmental impact. Frequent use of natural or organic herbicides will eventually result in the reduction of weeds and have a minimum negative effect on our nature. 

At Green Schools Green Future, we focus on a greener way of life that is based more on organic products and food. We strongly discourage the use of chemicals and encourage people to lead a healthy, greener life. For our future leaders, it is important to inculcate in them a strong understanding of what organic means and how to live life sans chemicals. If you wish to help us in achieving our goals, please make a generous donation by clicking here.


Blog Image Credit:  photoAC  from  Pixabay

By Kritika Rao

The organic herbicide way Image

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