DIY Garden

Spraying Weed Killer in the Garden

Environmentally Friendly Weed Killer

Many people’s alarm bells go off when they hear ‘weed killer.’ ‘No poison in my garden!’ It is now well known that chemical agents are harmful to humans and nature. Hence, the popular weed killer ‘RoundUp’ has been banned for private use by the government. Fortunately, there are natural alternatives that are almost as effective. These agents work based on pelargonic acid, an organic fatty acid naturally occurring, for example, in geraniums. As it is a natural product, it is also decomposed by nature after use. Pelargonic acid combats stubborn weeds like thistles, dandelions, nettles, and couch grass and is effective against moss and algae.

Spraying Weed Killer with a Pressure Sprayer

Metabo pressure sprayer

To apply the herbicide to the weeds, you need a pressure sprayer. Pressure sprayers come in various shapes and sizes, often designed as a model you wear like a backpack. Choose a pressure sprayer that suits your garden. If you need to spray weed killer over a large area, an electric pressure sprayer with a large reservoir of 10 to 20 liters is advisable. For smaller gardens, a 5-liter pressure sprayer with a hand pump is sufficient.

For good results, the correct dilution of the concentrate—as prescribed on the packaging—is crucial. First, pour a generous base of water into your sprayer, then add the necessary amount of concentrate. Ensure it is well mixed before you continue to fill up with the rest of the required water. Use the sprayer immediately, and do not forget to occasionally shake it to mix. Note: Never unscrew the spray head of the pressure sprayer when the device is pressurized!

When Should You Spray Weed Killer?

man spraying weed killer on patio

Spray the weeds on a dry day. The ideal temperature is between 15°C and 25°C. Lower or higher temperatures will reduce the effectiveness. You should also not expose a pressure sprayer to very high temperatures, so never work in full sun. Do not leave a filled pressure sprayer for a long time in the full sun or exposed to heat. Spray weeds when there is little wind. You do not want the agent to reach other plants. A light breeze is no problem, but in that case, spray with the wind direction so the weed killer does not blow back in your face.

Weed killer works best when the weeds are growing. Therefore, the best months to treat weeds are between March and September. If the plant has grown sufficiently, it absorbs the weed killer better. Start weed control at the beginning of spring and repeat the treatment a few times until the end of summer. Spray one last time in September so the weeds cannot overwinter.

Safe Spraying

Before you start, read the instructions on the packaging of the weed killer carefully, and always wear a face mask and work gloves while spraying. For safety, it is best not to let your pets in the garden or on the patio for the first few hours after treatment. Also, take a few precautions for the safety of your garden plants. Pelargonic acid combats all plants, including your beautiful flowers and ornamental plants. For this reason, you cannot use the agent on the lawn. However, woody parts of a plant do not absorb the product, so you can safely spray under bushes as long as you do not hit the green parts of the bush. To target more easily and with more control, you can use a spray shield.

Alternative Weed Killers

In addition to Pelargonic Acid, several home remedies are also used to spray weeds. However, these are not without harmful side effects.

  • Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, which is toxic to all life in water and the soil. It is also harmful to humans when inhaled or in contact with the skin.
  • Vinegar and weed killers based on acetic acid are harmful to aquatic organisms. Therefore, it is better not to use them near watercourses and ponds. Vinegar is also harmful to bees: so stay away from blooming plants where bees feed.
  • Salt, with regular use, salts up the soil. It accumulates in the ground and creates a physiologically dry environment. Only salt-loving plants will benefit from this, but other species will wither.

Also read: Eco-friendly gardening: 6 tips.

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