For decades, glyphosate weed killers have made busy gardeners’ busy lives a little easier. Instead of hoeing, weeding, or scorching, Roundup and other total herbicides killed weeds—just by spraying the preparations. Environmentally conscious hobby gardeners became a little uneasy when the toxic effect on fish and other aquatic organisms became apparent. Ever since the World Health Organization defined glyphosate weed killers as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’, there has been a high level of alert among recreational gardeners. It’s good to know that hobby gardening doesn’t stand or fall with such chemical clubs. There are definitely realistic alternatives to weed killing.
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The best method of weed killing
The most efficient weed killer prevents dandelions, goutweed and co. from growing in the first place. This plan succeeds in an environmentally friendly way using weed fleece. This is an innovative material that, on the one hand, does not let sunlight through and, on the other hand, is permeable to air and water. Photosynthesis stops, preventing weeds from growing. The supply of nutrients and water to the roots of useful and ornamental plants is not impeded, which is a decisive advantage over classic plastic film. Thanks to the air permeability, mold and fungus have no chance to spread. Wherever glyphosate weed killers have been used up to now, the non-rotting weed fleece has served as a smart alternative for many years.
- on paths and squares
- in ornamental and kitchen gardens
- in gravel beds and rock gardens
- along garden ponds
- in greenhouses
In strengths from 50 to 150 grams per square meter, a suitable quality is available for every area of application. It is easy to lay, even with an inexperienced hand. After the soil has been cleared of rocks, roots and weeds, trim and spread the weed wrap. Practical plastic anchors are used for fixation. Where plants are planned, cut the film in an X-shape. The weed fleece becomes invisible if you cover it with decorative gravel, grit or potting soil.
Manual weed control
Fortunately, the classic way of fighting weeds in the garden is no longer associated with a bent back or painful slipping on the knees. The following devices support your efforts in a way that is as simple as it is effective.
With this tool you can tackle weeds with a good dose of tenacity. A double-edged, hardened steel, oscillating blade pulls the weeds out of the ground and cuts them off. Every time you use the pendulum hoe, the roots of the weeds become weaker. Eventually, seed weeds die because their supply from above-ground plant parts is constantly cut off.
If you want to get rid of stubborn root weeds, you can use a weed cutter. The functionality is based on stainless steel blades that penetrate deep into the ground with the help of a pedal. A gentle shake is enough to loosen the soil and lift out the weeds. Thanks to the long handle on the ergonomic handle, this form of weed killing can be done without bending down.
‘s tooth Where even an elegant weeder is still too clumsy to work, the hobby gardener uses a sow’s tooth. In the midst of narrow rows of plants in the vegetable patch, for example, the 200 gram claw pulls out annoying weeds. Nobody here wants to swing the chemical club with glyphosate weed killer anymore. Where weeds have already settled so densely that using a weed cutter would be too time-consuming, the sow tooth also serves as a sensible alternative.
As a three-tooth variant of the sow tooth, a cultivator loosens up every bed deeply. Optimally suited for bed preparation in spring, the tool does not spare any weeds and at the same time pulls the roots into the light of day. It is important to note that all parts of the plant are then carefully collected so that they do not germinate.
If the weed control requires an extra delicate tool, the joint brush comes into play. The steel bristles do not spare grass, clover or moss between paving stones or terrace slabs. Nobody here misses the glyphosate weed killer anymore.
Trenches with a spade
Coping with traditional moor cultivation, hobby gardeners have modified trenches in such a way that the effective method can be used in their kitchen garden at home. In concrete terms, this involves intensive deep ploughing, whereby the soil is broken up with a spade. In the end, the subsoil covers a weed-strewn topsoil so high that all weeds die. A throw-through sieve and a spade are required as tools.
- Mow the vegetation as low as possible or cut it with a scythe
- Dig a furrow across to the working area with a depth of 2 spade blades
- Throw the excavated material from the first trench through the screen and pile it up sideways
- Sieve the soil of the second furrow and shovel it into the first trench
- Proceed according to this pattern up to the last trench, which is filled with the excavation from the first furrow
The sifted out weeds are not disposed of in the compost, but are burned or put in the dustbin.
Cocodisk mulch disc
Since glyphosate weed killer has been on the market, hobby gardeners have been using the preparation in particular for selective weed control on tree discs or under shrubs. In order to obtain a weed-free appearance in these areas of the bed, the Cocodisk mulching disc serves as an environmentally friendly alternative. Made from pure natural fibres, the disc encloses the root neck and suppresses weed growth. The Cocodisk has also proven to be extremely helpful in protecting young plants from being overgrown by weeds.
Thermal alternatives to glyphosate weed killers
An effective ally in the fight against weeds is heat. If the mechanical removal of seed and root weeds is too strenuous for you, you can use the following thermal devices, which operate using gas, infrared radiation or boiling water. The required effort is reduced to a minimum without the need for chemical substances from an industrial poison kitchen.
Here weeds are killed with extremely high temperatures. There is a round opening on a long stem from which the ignited gas flows out. On average, the heat development is between 1,800 and 2,000 degrees Celsius. On smaller models, the gas tank is located directly on the handle, while versions for large areas are connected to a gas bottle by a long hose.
While glyphosate weed killers have been shown to damage microorganisms in the soil, infrared radiation only penetrates 1-2mm into the soil. That is enough to burst the protein cells in the weed. A wilting process starts immediately without disturbing the soil organisms. Since the cells in flying seeds burst at the same time, you then have a long period of rest from another infestation. This not only applies to sealed paths, but also to walls, on tree grates or other places in the garden where weeds spread.
If you have your own well in the garden, you have the option of converting a pressure washer into a biological weapon against weeds. This applies in particular to paved areas and paths on which annoying greens proliferate. The only thing to consider is that any joint sand sprayed out afterwards must be swept up and refilled.
In principle, the use of glyphosate weed killer on paved surfaces is strictly prohibited. Since the legislator monitors this legal provision only half-heartedly or not at all, the questionable preparation is used in this way again and again. Pure, boiling water achieves a similar effect on gravel, paved and even mulched paths.
- Provide a kettle with an extension cord and water hose
- Boil water and pour over weeds
- The next day, scalded plant parts are collected and disposed of
Environmentally and health-conscious hobby gardeners use boiling water to fight all seed and root weeds. If a specimen stubbornly resists, the procedure is repeated without further ado.
Peaceful coexistence instead of annihilation
The vast majority of herbal plants only qualify as weeds by definition. In truth, many types of plants are not only edible, but also rich in valuable nutrients. The following list gives an overview:
- The knowledgeable housewife prepares stinging nettles (Urtica) as hearty spinach
- Giersch (Aegopodium podagraria) makes a delicious salad in combination with leaf spinach
- Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) tastes like rocket
- Dandelion (Taraxacum) tastes equally good as spinach or salad, especially combined with goutweed
- Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) was already a popular spice in ancient Egypt
- Chickweed (Stellaria media) is packed with vitamins and can be prepared like lettuce
- Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) provides delicious seeds that taste like nuts
The fresher the plants are harvested, the tastier they are. If you go to work all the time, you will leach out the plant in the long run so that it will die by itself – without the use of a weed killer.
In addition, numerous wild herbs thrive in nature, which sometimes get lost in the garden. If you become a little familiar with these plants, you will get to know and use their beneficial effects instead of fighting them. This includes, for example, buckhorn (Plantago lanceolata). Its leaves not only contain a pleasant, mushroom-like aroma that goes very well with game dishes. The pressed leaves also relieve unpleasant itching, for example after touching nettles. Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is so rich in vitamin C that a tea strengthens the immune system and has a preventive effect against flu.
Nobody can turn a blind eye to the explosive nature of glyphosate weed killers. It’s time to become aware of the multiple alternatives to this form of weed killing. Even a simple kettle will get rid of annoying weeds for several weeks. Not to mention thermal devices such as the flaming device or the infrared heater. In addition, traditional methods of manual weed control are gaining in value, which go hand in hand with a health-promoting trim-you effect. In some respects, peaceful coexistence should be considered, at least with weeds, which are actually healthy raw foods and natural medicinal herbs.