You may have heard about the possible dangers of certain glyphosate-based weed killers. Scientists around the world are starting to link long-term glyphosate exposure to an increased risk of cancer and a slew of other health issues. Which begs the question: Is there such a thing as a safe, risk-free weed killer? There just might be.
Let’s talk about why glyphosate has been under the microscope, and what options may be available to replace the world’s most used weed killer.
What is glyphosate?
Introduced by Monsanto in 1974, glyphosate has been used by home and business owners for over 40 years. On a small scale, glyphosate can be used to kill weeds in lawns, gardens, sidewalks, and flowerbeds. On a much larger scale, glyphosate is used in large gardens and agricultural operations.
Thanks to biotechnology, some agricultural seeds are now produced to withstand glyphosate, leaving certain crops immune to glyphosate while killing surrounding weeds. But these “Round-Up Ready” crops have led to an increase in herbicide use and human health issues.
Is glyphosate safe?
For years, scientists and researchers deemed glyphosate as “safe to use.” But recently, the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Additionally, research has shown that glyphosate may be a contributor to antibiotic resistance.
In the United States, the EPA still hasn’t listed the chemical as dangerous, but the department will look into the UN’s findings. Meanwhile, other countries have already motioned to ban the product completely.
Is there an alternative to glyphosate?
Yes. Vinegar-based weed killers are a safe and environmentally friendly alternative to glyphosate.
Vinegar-based weed killers are a much better option to use around your family, pets, and livestock. And because vinegar breaks down in the soil, there’s no chance of infecting groundwater or local waterways.
For the best results, users should find an horticultural vinegar that contains at least 20% acetic acid.
Are vinegar-based weed killing solutions effective?
Yes. Vinegar based weed killers just as effective as glyphosate against most broadleafs weeds, including:
- Musk thistle
- Ground ivy
- Common chickweed
As an added bonus, vinegar-based weed killers act fast. Within 24 hours, 20% vinegar eliminates 95% of weeds. For the best results, spray weeds on a sunny, clear day.
Where do vinegar-based weed control solutions work best?
Vinegar-based weed killers are extremely versatile. They are great for most places around your house or business including:
- Sidewalk edges
- Driveway cracks
- Vegetable gardens
- Flower beds
- Along fences
- Around foundations
- Brick walkways
Be careful spraying vinegar-based solutions near metal structures such as metal sheds or iron, tin, or aluminum based structures. The acid in the vinegar can sometimes cause corrosion in these types of structures.
Do vinegar-based weed control solutions have any limitations?
Vinegar based weed killing solutions do have a few drawbacks. If you’re treating a large lawn, vinegar might not be your best bet. With vinegar, the solution doesn’t discern between plant and weed, so it is imperative that you spray weeds carefully in order to protect your flowers and vegetables.
Make sure to bring the nozzle close to the targeted weed before pulling the trigger. Also for older and more mature weeds, you might need to spray the vinegar multiple times before seeing results.
Want an effective weed killer but not the possible dangers that come along with glyphosate? Then consider 20% vinegar. Horticultural vinegar is affordable and highly effective in halting weed growth. Best of all, you can rest easy knowing your family and pets are safe from harmful herbicides and chemicals.