vegetable patch management
weeding
using glycophosphate to kill weeds
Glycophosphate (commonly called Roundup) is one of the most widespread herbicides in use today. Below is an assessment of the risks involved in using Glycophosphate plus some suggestions as to when it might be appropriate to use it.


The risks involved in using glycophosphate
It  is claimed that Glycophosphate breaks down into inert parts (water, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, phosphorus and carboxylic acid), which means it should not leave a nasty residue in the soil.  However I have also seen warnings about using it near waterways because of it has a harmful effect on aquatic life.

So, while not as bad as some herbicides, it clearly poses an environmental risk.  If you apply the Three D's (Deter, defend, Dynamite) to glycophosphate in my mind it clearly comes under the Dynamite heading and therefore should only be used when all other options have been exhausted.

When using Glycophosphate may be the best option

for people with bad backs
Removing tough weeds like Couch grass can be hard on the back.  For people who suffer from back problems using Glycophosphate to kill Couch grass will dramatically reduce the amount of digging required which will reduce the risk of causing further injury to their backs.

To remove Couch grass from large areas
Illustration of hand painting glycophosphate onto weeds
By hand painting Glycophosphate solution directly onto weeds infesting a useful plant it is possible to kill the weeds without disturbing the plant.
Couch grass can be removed without the use of chemicals but to be successful only small sections at a time can be tackled.  For larger areas that are infested with Couch grass glycophosphate may be the only way to successfully remove it.


to remove weeds amongst established plants
Perhaps the best use of Glycophosphate is for removing weeds from amongst established plants that you do not want to disturb. With a bit of patience and care it is possible to hand paint weeds with a Glycophosphate solution so as to kill the weeds without harming the useful plants. In the past I have used this method to successfully remove Couch grass from amongst Black Currant bushes,