4 Pros and Cons of Using Herbicides to Control Weeds

Some people prefer not to use herbicides to kill weeds. Others swear by their effectiveness at weed control. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, consider these pros and cons of using foliar herbicides to control weeds in your landscape or hardscape.

Consider the Pros

A foliar herbicide, which is a toxic substance that’s absorbed through the leaves of a plant, can be effective at killing individual weeds, or weeds that have overrun large areas.

Foliar herbicides can work quickly, sometimes killing weeds within a day’s time. Typically, though, they kill weeds within a week of application.

You won’t have to remove weeds individually, which can keep you from having to kneel or bend over for long periods of time to pull weeds. After weeds shrivel and die, you can rake them into a pile and dispose of them.

You can use a non-toxic herbicide to treat weeds, which will enable you to prevent contamination issues related to toxic herbicides.

Consider the Cons

Wind could carry herbicidal spray onto beneficial plants and accidentally damage or kill them.

Direct contact with chemical herbicides may cause skin irritation, and inhalation of the spray could cause respiratory issues. So you should always be careful when applying these chemicals.

Weeds that are chemically killed and placed into your compost bin can stunt the growth of future vegetation if that compost is used in your garden soil because traces of herbicides can survive the composting process and infiltrate the soil.

Studies show that chemical herbicides may interfere with the environment. They can affect earthworms, which play an important role in aerating and draining soil, and throw soil nutrients out of equilibrium. They can also result in the leaching of chemicals into places like streams and underground aquifers.


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