Can Weedkillers Be Organic?

Until recently commercially produced organic weedkillers have been thin on the ground. We all know that organic gardening has increased in popularity over recent years, moving from the preserve of idealists into mainstream gardening.

Created by Nathan James Dodd on Tuesday, 5th of August, 2014.
Updated on Thursday, 8th of December, 2016.


Can Weedkillers Be Organic?

We all know that organic gardening has increased in popularity over recent years, moving from the preserve of idealists into mainstream gardening. 

There are certainly DIY weedkillers that can work. Vinegar for example, although it won't have much effect until you distil it, increasing the amount of acetic acid from 5% to about 20%. You then have a non-selective contact herbicide that will kill small sized annual weeds and perennial seedlings.

Rock salt can be used to dehydrate the leaves and roots of a plant but it's residual i.e. will remain in the soil and this isn't a good idea if used where you intend to plant in the future. So it's best on paths, block paving or similar only.

Weed Control Fabric

Reliance on the hoe and fork, mulch and old carpet has remained undiminished. There are products such as Weed Control Fabric that suppresses weed growth but allows water and nutrients to pass through and we are now beginning to see new products on the market from well known companies that can be classed as organic.

Organic Weedkillers from Bayer

Until recently commercially produced organic weedkillers have been thin on the ground. Taking vinegar as their inspiration, there are non-selective biodegradable weedkillers that contain acetic acid while others are based on pelargonic acid that is non-toxic, breaks down readily in the soil and occurs naturally in geraniums, apples and grapes. 

Bayer has introduced a 'Natria' range that includes a Super Fast Weedkiller that uses fatty acids to disrupt the cellular structure of the plant, causing them to dehydrate and die. It's ideal for eradicating annual weeds and can be used around vegetables.

With multi-national companies now entering the market with their financial and research muscle, there's no doubt that better and more effective 'natural' weedkillers will be introduced. Time will tell whether they are proven to be effective and if the organic market is large enough to sustain a large range of such products.

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