I have heard from various people who are supposed to know what they are talking about that round up is safe to include in an organic program. My question is really about Round Up Plus. It has other stuff in it that don't sound like they would be acceptable.
My other question is about pre-emergents. Is there one that works on all weeds? My biggest problems are nut grass, Johnson grass and Buffalo grass.
Safe and OK to use in an organic program are two different things. There are some who argue that Roundup (the regular kind) is safe because it degrades quickly in contact with soil (others would disagree). But it is in no way organic--it's very clearly a synthetic chemical so regardless of what you believe about its safety, it is not approved for use in an organic program. If it's your own garden and you're not 100% committed to organic then it's up to you what to use, but if you are committed to organic or wanting to grow produce & sell it as organic then you can't use Roundup.
By Roundup Plus, I assume you're talking about Roundup Extended Control? It's got extra stuff in it that keeps working for several months after application, so because of that it is definitely less safe than the regular Roundup, and also not organic. I don't think the extended control is really suitable for use in garden beds--it's intended more for areas like driveway cracks, gravel paths, etc where you're not trying to grow anything.
If you want an organic pre-emergent, try corn gluten. The catch with pre-emergents is that you need to apply them at the right time, reapply them periodically since they get washed out, and be aware that they only work to stop seeds from germinating. If you have perennial weeds that come up every year from the roots, it will not do anything for those. I think all the grasses you mention are perennial, so while it will prevent new ones from coming up from seed, it won't do anything about the plants that are already there.
Ecrane thanks for your answer. I used (the original kind) several years ago in our driveway, never in the garden. And I don't sell our veges anyway. But we have some commercial property where I have a very large bed that I have yet to landscape and I'm trying to figure out how to deal with new weeds in the most efficient way possible. You're right the weeds I'm talking about are perennial. I worked for about 4 hours today trying to clean out this bed and I'm not there yet. I want to try to keep new seeds from getting started. I have tried corn gluten before, but probably didn't use it often enough. But I waswondering if there might be something besides corn gluten that would work better for the weeds I'm fighting.
I have heard people on the radio talk about when to put out corn gluten and it seems like down here there is always something going to seed, so I'm probably going to be doing this the whole growing season.
Thanks for your answer grnhouse gal. I just read that article. It's the first time I've heard of that problem. Maybe I should read it again, but I don't remember it saying for sure why the frog population decreased. Maybe the detergent keeps the oxygen out of the water?
I'm also wondering exactly what is in this Milorganite stuff I keep hearing about.
Silverfluter, the article seems to be saying that the surfactant in Roundup directly caused the deaths of the frogs and tadpoles, so that it was toxic in and of itself, rather than causing their death indirectly through some other mechanism. The fact that adding Roundup immediately resulted in dead tadpoles suggests that something in the surfactant was lethal for them.
silverfluter, if you're starting from scratch on a new bed and want to stop weeds, use a cardboard layer, water it heavily, and then cover it with a mulch of wood chips. When you want to put in a plant, you push back the mulch and cut a hole in the cardboard with a box cutter. This really helps deal with a weedy plot. Also, the cardboard and woodchips help keep moisture in the soil in a hot climate. This is the way I used to garden when I lived in south Florida. If you don't have cardboard, you can also use layers of newspaper, but it has to be at least six sheets thick.
That might come in handy with a couple of areas in my garden that are covered with henbit. I was just telling DH we should use newspaper on them. Hadn't thought about using a box cutter for planting. Do you think that would work with seeds as well as plants? One of those areas is for watermelon, the other for sweet potatoes.
Organic growing, (which is largely soil health based), and RoundUp are simply incompatible.
If you have a good sized area that needs to be cleared out, either smother with the cardboard & mulch, or till, chop & hoe. Then till, chop & hoe some more, LOL. But eventually, you'll get a cleared area.
Some things aren't amenable to tilling, chopping and hoeing; you could end up with lots and lots more weeds that way. So choose your weapons wisely, based on what kind of noxious herbiage you're trying to eradicate!
This is exactly a new bed. It was started about 3 years ago, but the lousy economy and me having 2 surgeries put a crimp in my gardening plans. I planted a few things and about half of it died because I didn't realize there is a spring up hill from our property. The soil is very sandy so I planted some zeriscape stuff and a rose and some daylilies which I figured I would have so coax along. Most of the zeriscape stuff died and the rose and daylilies are doing great with almost no irrigation. So now I'm trying to come up with a new plan and get this weed problem under control. This is commercial property which we were told had to be landscaped and fortunately nobody has complained about it yet.
At our house I tried the newspaper thing and it worked fairly well except that the grass I discovered was growing under about 10 layers of newspaper for a long time before it poked through. We have plenty of cardboard I can use, but it seems like it will be in the way when I have to dig up weeds. Things like that do help, but eventually stuff grows under there.
Don't know what Milorganite is. We just use cardboard if we're trying to cover up either side of the asparagus or blackberry row; in other words, we're not planning to plant anything more in those areas. Then we add salt hay to mask the cardboard. It looks good and keeps the weeds down. They don't grow under that; no light.
Oh, I wouldn't use it in anything that's destined for the table. Some pathogens, such as the AIDS virus and Mad Cow Disease, aren't killed through normal processing methods. Actually I wouldn't use it on my property just in case.
Hey, loads of people use Sevin and swear by it. Loads of people think GMOs are a great advance. DG has room for everyone. You just have to decide which path you're comfortable traveling and then choose your advisors accordingly.
I haven't had problems with weeds growing through cardboard until it starts to break down a year later. The only place they can grow through is the holes you put for whatever perennials you put in, especially if you use the nice sturdy cardboard boxes for shipping. They can grow through newspapers more easily. It's true that if you till, you will raise a lot of weed seeds to the surface. Unless you have some fierce rotting going on afterward, they will germinate en masse. If you aren't using mulch, then you have to get in there and hoe when they are babies. That's what I usually do, because my garden is generally way too big to mulch. In the past, when it was smaller, what I did is till and then cover with cardboard and mulch. In fact, that is what I was planning on doing this year to expand my planting area in my front yard. The biggest problem for me with using mulch is the expense. I have tons of cardboard from my business, but I figured out yesterday that I would need 2.4 cu yards of mulch just to do the border of the front yard, costing about $100. It reminded me of why I quit mulching in the first place. Usually I just leave the dirt bare and hoe regularly, creating a dust mulch. I thought I'd make the front "pretty." It doesn't need to be $100 worth of pretty, to my mind. But if you can get cheap mulch, it's an easy way to deal with weeds. I don't find that it is more effective than a dust mulch for water. I have had the experience that the mulch soaks up all the water and none gets down to the plant. That happened to me with a tomato patch one year and is another reason why I quit using mulch. Pros and cons, either way. But whether you use mulch or a hoe, either one negates having to use any chemicals at all.
The other thing is to use a living mulch of whatever can grow in your climate and is tough and like a groundcover. I have used dwarf white clover in mine. I have a lot of shade, which it likes, and it only gets 8" tall, which is perfect. I get rhizocoated seed in bulk from Peaceful Valley. Bees love it. Works really well and you can grow stuff like tomatoes and whatever through it. Plus if you want, at the end of the season you can till it in if you want to start with a clean slate the following year.
Greenhousegal, I haven't tried this with seeds. Usually I am popping transplants in and for stuff like squash and whatnot I never added a mulch.
Paracelsus, what is dust mulch? If I don't mulch I end up with weeds; as the summer progresses they just get away from me, no matter how persistent I am earlier in the season. We just spent the morning yesterday pulling up henbit that had taken over two double rows, but we couldn't get all the roots. That stuff is persistent!
grh gal. You're right about people using stuff I would never even go near in the store. Toxic stuff. I try to find out as much as I can about things before I buy and then find lots of reasons for not buying.
Paracelsus, our garden isn't big enough to rent a tiller. We just clear out enough space for what we want to plant. DH does like to mulch the garden, and I gave up trying to talk him into it. One of these years I'm going to plant a winter mulch crop. Mulching my flower beds is a huge job and very expensive. Cardboard would be a much better idea. We have a business too and usually take cardboard to the recycling center. I never thought of having a living mulch in the growing season though. That's a really interesting idea.
In our garden cardboard doesn't degrade all that thoroughly or evenly, so we just use it around permanent beds like the asparagus, raspberries and blackberries. Our blueberries have a pine needle mulch which they love because it's acid. Salt hay is our mulch of choice for the rest of the garden; no weed seeds! But it's a big job to mulch everything, especially if the salt hay gets wet. Then it's heavy and messy.
I would really like to try some hay for mulch. I have a hunch that hay is going for a lot of money right now though because of the drought. Maybe next year. Do you mean that you don't get weed seeds with the hay or that seeds don't get through the hay to the soil to grow?
We use salt hay, which doesn't grow in garden soil. It's a kind of marsh grass - spartina patens, to be specific. I wouldn't use regular hay because you'd get tons of weeds; we even get those when we use our friends' barely composted horse manure. Straw is supposed to be better but we have found that to be a problem with importing weed seeds, too.
Hmmm. I have to get to work right now, but I'm making a mental note to look for salt hay. I have a hunch though that it's not available down here. We are a long way from any marsh areas, especially right now. We are in a drought.
I gather fall leaves from around the neighborhood and keep them stacked in an area that's too shady for vegetables. Then when I need mulch, I spread them between the raised beds, and run the mower over them several times. Nice thing about leaves, the earthworms break them down into free dirt, and they are weed-free.
If the leaves are shredded fine enough, the rain is able to penetrate them. I've found leaving leaves "whole" doesn't do this.
We're working on a compost pile right now that's made up of layers of grass clippings, chicken coop chips and manure, and shredded leaves. DH used whole leaves for a winter mulch around his fig trees and they certainly formed an almost impermeable layer!
I have always left my leaves in my flower beds for mulch, but last year I hired somebody to cut the grass and he blew the leaves into the street for city to pick up. It was my fault for not telling him not to. But the next time I did tell him not to blow the leaves in the street and he did it anyway. So all winter long I had almost no mulch. I was very upset with him. He will not be hired again.
You know, I've had great luck using the lasagna bed approach. I think the trick is to get enough materials on top of the weeds. It works great for raised beds, but it works well even if you're not trying to raise the grade too. I think the key is to get at least 2 inches of each layer on top of the weeds/grass. I use cardboard or newspaper (wet), compost (I've also used peat moss but prefer compost), and shredded leaves. Top it off with the compost layer to help compost the leaves and keep them from blowing away. The bed will settle about 6 inches in 3 months, and make very fertile soil full of earthworms. But you don't have to wait; you can also plant directly in it. I've successfully created new beds on top of bermuda and st augustine with this method. If I leave it bare, I'll get NEW weeds, but the old ones are gone, and it's a lot easier to stay on top of new ones.
As for that nutsedge... I don't know if there's anything that will get rid of it. I have it growing up through my pavers in my pathways. One year I got desperate enough to step out of my organic program and use Image. Knocked it back for a couple of months, but then it came back. Howard Garrett says the only way to completely get rid of it is to dig up your beds, sift out every bulblet, and haul it out to sea on a boat. LOL. I've had some success using vinegar on it, but you have to go out and spray any new plants EVERY day, for a couple of years. That's pretty hard to keep up with.
Years and years ago, when there weren't very many organic choices on the market, we used Milorganite on our problem lawn. (I wouldn't use it near a food bed.) It worked okay, at least as well as all those high-nitrogen fertilizers we used before we went organic. But today, it's outdated and there's much better, safer and more balanced stuff on the market. We use Texas Tee on our lawns. It's a mix of all the stuff we used to add manually, but they have the mix just right, and it's the best stuff I've ever seen for grass. I use Buds & Blooms in my beds, or mix up my own alfalfa/compost mix.
Well I still haven't used any Round Up. I'm trying to get stuff planted in the bed so that the weeds have some competition but that's been a slow process. I seem to have developed an allergy to my dirt.:( I am supposed to wear a mask when I dig and lots of times I forget and then I get sick.
I guess it would be a really good experiment to try a lasagna bed there because the soil is so sandy. There was some good topsoil added on top of the sand, but it wasn't worked in. There is still quite a lot of empty space where I could fix some lasagna.:) Do you think worms would be attracted to sandy soil - almost like beach sand under that top soil?
I don't know, but the best soil I have on my lot is the sandy loam in the back yard, where we had it filled 20 years ago. A lot of the "loam" has eroded away and now parts of it look very sandy. But everything in the world grows in it. I do find earthworms in it.
Yes, sandy loam is awesome stuff. That's what we have at our house. Until we bought this commercial property I had no idea there was soil like this stuff in Fredericksburg. It's like being on another planet almost. I asked DH to help me tomorrow to fix my "lasagna". He's not thrilled about this idea and will probably try to find something else to do. We'll see.
Pbtxlady, that's the same article I quoted above on 4/24. Relyea's research was the first scientific study (2005) that demonstrated the dangers of RoundUp. So the information has been out there for a while. I wonder why we have been ignoring it. What's especially surprising is Germany's embracing of it; they are usually very cautious about such things.