Yes, there are safe Roundup alternatives used by the agricultural community, farmers, and gardeners that fall into six categories: natural acids, herbicidal soaps, salt-based herbicides, iron-based herbicides, corn gluten, and phytotoxic oils. These herbicide alternatives are both safe and effective for the control of weeds in agricultural environments.
Dangers of Roundup
Roundup was the leading herbicide for decades in the agricultural community. However, starting in 2001, there were growing concerns that the main ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, was likely a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).
Finally, in 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) listed glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. There are other agencies, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), that indicate that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. However, in order to be safe, many farmers and gardeners have made the decision to use safer alternatives to Roundup.
Types of Alternative Herbicides
There are many different alternative herbicides that can be used as a safe Roundup alternative. Some of these alternative herbicides include the following categories:
- Herbicidal soaps
- Iron-based herbicides
- Corn gluten
- Salt-based herbicides
- Phytotoxic oils (types of essential oils including peppermint, pine, clove, or citronella)
- Natural acids (any citric acid or vinegar-based product)
The best practices of using an alternative to Roundup include working to improve the overall health of the soil, proper irrigation techniques, and ensuring that all plants receive proper nutrition. These alternative herbicides work by coming into direct contact with the plants, instead of working on the vascular system of the plant—and therefore operate completely differently than Roundup. As a result, if a person plans on using these alternative herbicides, they should make sure to take different tactics regarding the killing of weeds.
Roundup Alternatives Are Safe and Effective
Some of these safe Roundup alternatives work exceptionally well. In fact, research at the University of Maryland shows that any acetic acid concentration—such as vinegar—can produce excellent results against young, smaller weeds. Additionally, these acetic acid-based alternative herbicides actually control many types of weeds, including carpetweed, chickweed, crabgrass, ground ivy, and more.
Other types of safe Roundup alternatives provide mixed results according to research. Farmers attempting to use essential oils and phytotoxic acids have had mixed success, and these products may remain dangerous to animals such as cats and dogs.
Corn gluten is a dry powder that is safe for the environment and humans as well—however, while corn gluten tends to work well on newer weeds, older and more established weeks will have greater resistance to this alternative herbicide. Despite these concerns, many people in the agricultural community continue to turn to these safe Roundup alternatives and avoid using glyphosate-containing herbicides.
Tips for Alternative Herbicide Application
If you make the decision to use alternative herbicides, consider the following tips and suggestions. Because of the way their chemicals operate, most alternative herbicides will function best on hot days, which allow the active ingredients to stay in constant contact with the weeds as long as possible.
Additionally, because these are still powerful herbicides and work differently than Roundup, make certain that you never spray or place these chemicals on any plants or vegetation which you do not wish to kill. Using alternative herbicides requires additional time and patience, unlike when using Roundup.
It is important to note that even though these chemicals are safe Roundup alternatives, you should always wear protective gear, including eyewear and gloves. These chemicals still have the ability to damage and injure skin, especially the ones that contain acetic acid.
Finally, some older and larger weeds—and weeds that come back every year (also known as perennial weeds)—may discolor or wilt after the application of an alternative herbicide, but not actually die. In these instances, these stubborn weeds may need additional applications for complete eradication. While this process may take more time and more patience, it is the trade-off for eliminating the exposure to the possible carcinogen found in Roundup and other glyphosate-containing herbicides.
Consider a Roundup Lawyer
While many in the agricultural community are now using or considering safe Roundup alternatives for their herbicidal needs, the damage has already occurred for some in regards to using Roundup. The chemical glyphosate is now considered by many organizations to contain properties that are carcinogenic.
If you believe you developed any serious medical conditions because of your exposure to Roundup or any other chemical that contained glyphosate, consider speaking with our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. Call us today at (800) 794-0444 to discuss your legal options and learn how a Roundup lawyer may be able to help with your case.