How many of you have walkways, pavers, or driveways in which weeds are sticking out between the cracks? With August upon us, the weeds, especially crabgrass, are flourishing. Am I the only one who gets tired of yanking out weeds?
Long ago, I would have run to the store and grabbed a bottle of Roundup® and blasted them “straight to the moon” as Ralph Kramden would say to Alice of The Honeymooners fame. Round-up is your weeds worse enemy. According to a recent article in the Environmental Heath News,
“Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.
The new findings intensify a debate about so-called “inerts” — the solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other substances that manufacturers add to pesticides. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients are approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is the most widely used herbicide in the United States. About 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA.”
Roundup® manufacturer Monsanto’s response? The methods used in the study “don’t reflect realistic conditions.” Despite their contention, the article further states,
“Last month, an environmental group petitioned Argentina’s Supreme Court, seeking a temporary ban on glyphosate use after an Argentine scientist and local activists reported a high incidence of birth defects and cancers in people living near crop-spraying areas. Scientists there also linked genetic malformations in amphibians to glysophate. In addition, last year in Sweden, a scientific team found that exposure is a risk factor for people developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”
This study is not the first one that has called Round-Up on the carpet. In 2005, Dr Mae-Wan Ho and Professor Joe Cummins called for urgent regulatory review of Roundup® in light of new scientific evidence.
“New research findings are raising serious concerns over the safety of the most commonly used herbicide, and should be sending shockwaves through proponents of genetically modified (GM) crops made tolerant to the herbicide, which now account for 75% of all GM crops in the world.
Worse yet, the most common formulation of the herbicide is even more toxic than the herbicide by itself, and is made by the same biotech giant that created the herbicide tolerant GM crops.”
In response to the allegations, Monsanto, stated Roundup® is safe.
What about animals? In 2005, a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh revealed that Round-up was harmful to amphibians. The study found
“that Roundup® caused a 70 percent decline in amphibian biodiversity and an 86 percent decline in the total mass of tadpoles. Leopard frog tadpoles and gray tree frog tadpoles were completely eliminated and wood frog tadpoles and toad tadpoles were nearly eliminated. One species of frog, spring peepers, was unaffected,” according to the University’s statement.
This was not new news to me. I have stayed away from Round-up for some time and turned to Burnout II, about four years ago. I used it to kill Ragweed. The second time I purchased the product, I bought a concentrated version to save money. At the time, the concentrated version was made out of commercial vinegar, clove oil, and citric acid. The formulation has changed since then.
The advantage to using the product is that it shrinks the weeds, but unfortuneately does not kill them. The disadvantages were the product dried out my hands, the smell lingered for sometime, and larger weeds looked unsightly since the product did not cause them to shrink. (See picture above.)
In addition, do not store this product without placing it in another container since my sprayer leaked. It caused my concrete to foam up and pit (See picture above.)
Turned my metal cabinet black. (See picture above.) I was not a happy camper when those two occurrences happened. After the concrete incident, I called the Company’s technical department to find out why the product caused the discoloration of my concrete and cabinet.
What I learned is my bottle contains the old formulation. The new formulation no longer contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) , which caused my hands to dry out. SLS is in many personal care products. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database, SLS can cause skin irritation along with more harmful affects . For more information about its use as a pesticide, see here. The new formulation contains clove oil, vinegar, and citrus acid as active ingredients and is OMRI listed. (The Organic Materials Review Institute provides a list of products that can be used in organic production, processing, and handling.)
During my conversation with technical support, I complained that the weeds just look like straw a few days after I sprayed them. When I try to pull them, they still will not come out easily. In fact, the weeds are exactly the same size as they were before I sprayed them. A little shriveled. So, what is the point of using this product?
The Company explained that perennial weeds may need more than one shot since they may regenerate. Annual weeds should be killed with one application. In addition, the label states:
“Best results are achieved from spring / early summer applications to actively growing young weeds. Weeds that are mature, dormant, or hardened due to moisture stress are more tolerant of herbicide treatments. Only contacted vegetation will be affected. Rainfall within one hour of application will reduce degree of control. Avoid application to reactive metals such as aluminum, tin, iron, or items such as fencing or lawn furniture in order to prevent staining, mottling, or otherwise interfering with finished metal surfaces. NOTE: All contacted vegetation will be affected. Avoid contact with desirable plants. Overspray or drift will injure or kill contacted vegetation.”
According to the Company, the product is effective on eliminating certain weeds such as dandelions, crabgrass, and ragweed. (See here for list of typical weeds that Burnout II will eliminate.) I sprayed in late summer and next year will try to spray in early spring/summer as advised. I found that grass, especially if you allow it to get long, takes quite a few application before it looks “burnt-out.” I have considered giving this long grass a short haircut before spraying it again.
As noted above, if there is any possibility of the bottle leaking or the dribbling from its sprayer, do not store it in or around a metal cabinet unless you have a pan underneath to catch the leak. I put my bottle in a leftover plastic paint tray and nothing has happened so far. As for my concrete, the technical person told me that BurnOut is like an acid and would etch my concrete. I replied that they should include a warning not to store in on your concrete floor unless it is in a pan.
For me, the jury is still out as to whether Burnout II works especially on unwanted grass. Has anyone had success with this product?