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10 May 2013

Weedkillers for the Garden

You may be thinking of using a weedkiller in your garden, so below is a brief guide to the types of weedkiller available, and some important points to remember when using them. They should all be readily available from garden centres, do-it-yourself outlets etc. Alternatively you might want to consider organic means of weed control.

Hormone-type Herbicides - used on lawns and rough grassland.
These are selective weedkillers and target broad-leaved weeds while leaving grass unharmed when used at the recommended application rate.
Hormone weedkillers are foliar-acting and move down into the weeds’ roots when applied to the foliage, but also tend to be slightly residual, remaining in the soil for a few weeks after application. It is advisable not to use lawn clippings from the first few mowings after application on the compost heap to avoid contamination, and don't use weedkiller on newly-seeded or turfed lawns.

Contact Herbicides - used to control annual and perennial weeds in the garden.
Contact herbicides work by scorching off weed foliage and are non-residual and non-selective. The ready-to-use mixtures commonly available are ideal for controlling weeds in the border - just ensure that you protect your plants when applying the liquid.

Systemic Herbicides - used to control deep-rooted perennial weeds.
As with contact herbicides, systemic herbicides are non-selective and non-residual. The benefit is that when systemic herbicides are applied to foliage they move down into the root system of the weed, making them ideal for combatting deep-rooted perennial weeds. The best time for treating weeds is mid to late summer when the weed has a large surface area.

Mosskillers, Algae and Water Butt Purification - used on lawns, borders and hard surfaces.
Mosskillers work by contact action, with only some being selective when used at the correct concentration. Algae killers are mainly approved for use on hard surfaces, although some types are approved for use around trees and plants. They are also contact weedkillers, but as most are water-soluble they give poor long-term control.
Please note that ferrous sulphate will stain hard surfaces.

Before Buying
1. Only use chemicals when they are really necessary. Good gardening techniques such as hoeing, mulching, and digging will help to keep weeds down.
2. Select the product which is recommended for your particular task.
3. Only buy the amount you need rather than storing large quantities. A ready-to-use spray may be sufficient for your needs.

Using
4. Always read the manufacturers’ label and check for specific instructions.
5. Use the product as instructed by the manufacturer. It is a legal requirement to comply with the Statutory Conditions indicated on the label.
6. Spray at the correct time of year and correct frequency.
7. Don't mix chemicals together unless this is recommended by the manufacturer.
8. Ensure that you thoroughly wet the weeds, including the undersides of leaves, but avoid excessive run-off.
9. Do not spray on windy or very sunny days.
10. Clean all equipment after use but don't use it for other purposes.
11. Only mix enough solution for the job you are doing, and don't pour any excess down the drain.

Safety
12. Wear protective clothing to avoid contact with exposed parts of the body. Take special care to avoid getting it in your eyes. Wash off any splashes immediately with clean water.
13. Don't eat, drink or smoke while using weedkillers.
14 Avoid breathing in sprays.
15. Keep children and pets well clear of where you are working and where you have already sprayed.
16. Always store chemicals tightly closed in their original container, and away from children and pets.

Wishing you safe and successful weed killing.

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