Roundup Systemic Weedkiller

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Type Weedkillers

Glyphosate Based Herbicide 540ml

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Roundup Glyphosate Based Weedkiller

Roundup Systemic Weedkiller acts through leaves and other green growth, not bark, so it can be applied to weeds around existing perennial plants. It is translocated within the plant and carried down to the roots, which it kills.

  • It has no effect on animals (including bees).
  • Its half life in the soil is about one month, which is short
  • It makes up to 27 litres of spray, which treats up to 540 sq metres of weeds.
  • It is safe to plant the area as soon as the spray has dried, so you can spray in the morning and plant in the afternoon.

Spray in March to late October, when the plants are in some growth and the weather is relatively warm. Spray when there will not be any rain for at least 8 hours, and ideally 24. No wind is best, but if there is a breeze, spray with it. Walk back from the end of the area, so that you don't walk into your sprayed terrain.

Please always follow the instructions on the packet. 

Sturdy perennial weeds and grasses are major obstacles to successful hedge and tree establishment, and they can be eradicated without herbicide and in a hurry by digging and physical removal, or with patience and planning by clearing the area in advance in winter and applying the long term mulching fabric (that is at least a metre wide or square) to suppress all plant growth that year, and planting into it the following winter. 

In situations where you won't use mulch fabric, and for larger areas and places where digging is impractical, glyphosate lets you pass through with a spray and clear a strip or patch for your trees and shrubs. 

Using Roundup on tree suckers:

Suckers from tree roots can be killed with Roundup without affecting the mother plant, as long as it is well established (most new plants don't sucker much anyway, at least not far enough away to be a problem). You can simply spray them as you would weeds, but if they are growing in your lawn or border, and you don't want to kill your other plants, we recommend mowing or cutting the young suckers, and daubing a stronger solution (about double what you would use to spray weeds) directly onto the cut stems with a brush.

Isn't glyphosate a horribly harmful chemical?

As a herbicide associated with Monsanto and Bayer corporations, Roundup ready GMO crops, and massive monoculture farming practices, glyphosate naturally raises concerns:

  • The business practices of a given corporation have no effect on the chemical properties of things.
  • Some GMO crops are Roundup ready, but most are not. You can be against GMO and still use glyphosate, and indeed vice versa. 
  • Roundup is a brand name for a range of products, some of which do not contain glyphosate, or contain other chemicals that are not being discussed here. The product on this page is glyphosate based.
  • Glyphosate attacks a metabolic process called the shikimic acid pathway, which does not exist in animals, whether mammal or insect. It will affect fungi, however, when applied correctly, damage to soil fungi will be extremely low and short term, affecting only the top couple of millimetres of soil. 
  • Massive monoculture farming practices can involve spraying the crops with a range of chemicals multiple times, every year that the field is in use: all that plus tilling is no good for the soil food web, leading to erosion in many areas, as well as nutrient run off into waterways.

Using glyphosate once or twice to clear tough perennial weeds off a planting strip for hedgerows, or any garden purposes, has no relation to any of those concerns from the farming context. It will not have lasting effects on the soil, poison your wildlife, or run off into waterways.

There was a famous court case in 2018 in which Mr Dewayne Johnson successfully sued Monsanto / Bayer on the basis that Roundup was responsible for his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This decision was made by a jury, and was not based on any direct, causal evidence: Mr Johnson's legal team and experts acknowledged that the cause of his cancer was unknown during the trial, and that the cause of such cancers is unknown in about 9 out of 10 cases. The clincher for the jury seems to have been one report that said that because there is not enough evidence to rule out the possibility that glyphosate might cause cancer, it must be considered "potentially carcinogenic". With that said, there is no statistically significant evidence that glyphosate, which has been in use since 1974, causes cancer in normal use among agricultural workers who are exposed to it frequently (see this large scale 2017 study for more details).

No substance is totally safe. If someone drank enough pure water fast enough, or about four or five pints of their best vinegar, they would require hospital care to pull through. A pint of Roundup would be fatal, so please don't drink any, and wear gloves and eye protection when you use it, as you would to be on the safe side with any household chemical. 

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Bareroot planting is best done between October and April
Bareroot and potted - what's the difference?

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