The height of spring brings gardens to a crescendo and gardens by their very nature are dynamic, forever undergoing changes. In periods of maximum growth, there is often the need to take charge over those plants that if given an inch will take a yard. It doesn't take too long for a garden to become an untamed jungle of weeds.
Once the soil is disturbed, conditions become more favourable to weeds and if left unchecked they will proliferate. Weeds can harbour pests and diseases, compete for nutrients and moisture, block drains, look unsightly and cause allergens and injury to pets. With so much at stake, control of weeds using herbicides may be required.
Many herbicide active constituents are non-selective so any spray drift onto desirable plants can have devastating effects. The impacts of all herbicides should be considered with caution. That's not to say that herbicides should be avoided entirely, the use of any chemicals in managing pest, diseases or weeds can be exercised safely when label directions are adhered too.
Spot spraying weeds in garden beds, between pavers and other hard landscape elements can be a time saver. Ready to use trigger packs are a safe way of avoiding exposure to chemical concentrates through mixing and are a convenient approach to weed control in smaller gardens. These days there are many soft options when it comes to weed control.
Herbicides with active constituents such as nonanoic acid (also known as pelargonic acid) and Acetic acid sprays which are basically salt and vinegar, provide home gardeners with safer options for weed control. Nonanoic acid burns and desiccates whatever green tissue it touches. Most importantly it doesn't require sunlight or heat to work. Of course, if it is a hot sunny day then you'll see the effects even faster.
Acetic acid (vinegar) based sprays need the heat/sunlight to work effectively, their efficacy is reduced when sprayed in cool, cloudy conditions. Another drawback of acetic acid sprays is that sodium salts will remain in the soil and can cause some salinity problems for sensitive plants, particularly if used on a regular basis.
Our love affair with the garden takes dedication, persistence, understanding and time to really nurture it, weeding is just one aspect of that relationship that will require some attention. Herbicides however can make it easier to manage weeds and free up time for more enjoyable aspects of gardening.