Using glyphosate weed killer safely around the home

Friday, August 23, 2019
best weed killer glyphosate


Using glyphosate to kill weeds effectively and safely


Glyphosate (Glyphosphate) is a herbicide that when applied leaves of plants it will kill both broadleaf plants and grasses. It is one of the most effective weed killers on the market and is perfect for use around the family home.

Perhaps the most famous branded version of glyphosate is Roundup which was made popular by Monsanto.

It's considered a nonselective weed killer so it isn't picky about what plants it will work on so if you accidentally spray it on your lawn like I did last summer (I swear I picked up the prickle poison!) then it will kill your entire lawn. Thus when using glyphosate, you need to be careful about spray drift onto flowers or bushes.

It is arguably the most commonly used herbicide in the world:

Why is glyphosate so effective as a weed killer?


Glyphosate (or glyphosphate) is a clever little chemical when it comes to killing plants. It works by preventing the plant from making certain proteins that are required for growth by cutting off its food supply. When the plant cannot function as it normally would, it slowly begins to die. The roots also die, meaning there is little chance of the plant regenerating.

How to safely use glyphosate


At small quantities, glyphosate is very safe for use around the home but commonsense rules about safe application practices should of course apply. There's no point unfairly exposing yourself to chemicals is there? 

So when using weedkillers like glyphosate you should follow these safety practices:

  • Work in good weather only
  • Wear clothing that covers the whole length of your arms and legs.
  • Use goggles, gloves, and a face mask to limit exposure, especially if you are spraying about shoulder height
  • When mixing the herbicide, you really should use some plastic gloves to protect against spillage.
  • Do not touch plants that have been sprayed with the herbicide
  • After application, safely dispose of your plastic gloves and then wash your hands and face with hot water. Have a hot shower if you can. 

How long does it take for glyphosate to work on plants?


It takes around two weeks to really start to show that it's working but starts working on killing the weed as soon as it enters the plant's system.

You will notice that the plants you have placed it on are slowly starting to go yellow as they die.

The herbicide works best when the air temperature is above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and finally, there should be no rainfall for at least two days after application.

If you are watering flowers or the vegetable garden, be mindful of getting water where you may have sprayed.

how long does glyphosate take to kill weeds
Dying lawn grass

How do I apply weed killer like glyphosate?


If you have a large volume of weeds to cull, it's best to use a pump sprayer that has a wand attachment to help you target where you spray and to assist with wide coverage. 

In our personal experience, a sprayer with a shoulder attachment is a really good option because a gallon of mixed concentrate can suddenly start to feel really heavy on the shoulder blade!

If you are doing some spot work, then a hand held spray bottle will help with surgical placement of the weed killer. 

You can also use sprayers that connect to your garden hose which means you do not have to mix up the chemicals. You just connect your hose, spray and then walk away!

When is the best time to use glyphosate?


It works best when the temperature is warm and there is no rain likely. If it rains shortly after spraying, it may not adhere to the plant and be washed off and you'll need to reapply it to the target area.

Who discovered glyphosate?


Glyphosate was first synthesized in 1950 by Swiss chemist Henry Martin but his work was never formally published. It wasn't until the 1960s when it was patented for use as a chemical chelator. Its use as an effective herbicide was discovered popularized by Monsanto in the 1970s, leading to its popular use around the world for helping with cropping and home maintenance under the Round Up brand.

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How safe is it to use glyphosphate?


This product has been approved for use in many countries around the world under approval from responsible regulatory regimes that have recognized the benefits of its use when considered against potential hazards. 

Though there has been a lot of debate, the general scientific consensus is that glyphosate is unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans or genotoxic which means damaging to genetic material or DNA.

In short, it's largely safe unless you are exposed to large quantities for a lengthy period.
This chemical does, however, kill bees so for any amateur bee keepers out there, we'd recommend you do not use this product near your hives.

And as for most chemicals, do not add this product to waterways such as home fish ponds as it will kill your fish. 

How long does glyphosphate last on the ground?


While it may be detected on the ground, glyphosphate is not active for a long period. It degrades relatively quickly by the soil's microorganisms. Because of this, it's unlikely there will be enough glyphosate in the soil to cause plants to die.

So yes, glyphosate can be detected in the soil for quite some time after application, however, it has no practical effect as a herbicide. This means when it is used between cropping seasons, it won't have an effect on the new plantings.

Many tests have been completed which demonstrate that glyphosphate does not transfer to crops that are subsequently planted after its use.

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