Mar 242010

I’ve learned in recent conversation with Lummi Islanders that some of us are still using the weed killer Roundup.

I confess I have a gallon in my garage. I don’t know how to get rid of it. Haven’t used any for five years. Garden guru Steve Solomon mentions in his books that he occasionally uses Roundup and because of that endorsement I assumed it was okay. In fact, on Steve’s continuous newsgroup Roundup has been soundly debated. You can follow the discussion here.

All the latest studies indicate that Roundup, manufactured by Monsanto, is dangerous to human health and to the eco system at large. A summary of the evidence can be found at the Biosaf Information Centre or at Wikipedia.

Roundup is important to Monsanto in production of Genetically Modified Seed. As a result Roundup has entered the food chain with Roundup Ready Seed, plants that can be sprayed with Roundup and not affected.
On a more personal level, Roundup is dangerous for children and pets.

We don’t really need to use it. Boiling water, vinegar, a propane torch, rock salt, sea water and hoeing are all ways to control weeds if that’s something you feel compelled to do. And, lots of those weeds (dandelion, dock, butdock, etc.) are edible. No need to poison them. Eat them or juice them or compost them.


  5 Responses to “Roundup”

  1. You can add two more things to the list of Round Up sins: A Swedish study found a strong correlation between the use of Round Up and an astounding increase in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma since the 1970’s. And a recent study found Round Up to be “highly lethal” to frogs.

    I could dig up the exact citations for these if anyone is interested or you can probably Google them. In both cases Monsanto was very quick to discredit the research (and presumably shut it down). In the case of the frog study, the researcher gave an excellent rebuttal to Monsanto’s arguments.

    I see no good reason to use the stuff. Refusing to support one of the planet’s most evil mega corporations ought to be reason enough..

  2. I recently discovered clove oil and mineral oil – I am tackling the neighbors ivy and am frustrated I used up the cup or so like you of Roundup sitting in the garage and then started researching There is some new products out there to help us with evasive plants link clove oil I can’t swear by it but I am sure trying it. Let me know if you find out something bad good or ugly about clove oil. I would appreciate it. I haven’t found out alot yet. Thanks

  3. I see there’s a product called Burnout which is vinegar, clove and citrus. Apparently it’s the vinegar that kills the plants and the oil that makes it stick. I’ve tried straight vinegar with mixed results.

    Today I attacked clover growing into my gravel driveway. Dug it up, trying to save as much gravel as I could then covered the area with rock salt. I’ve tried rock salt before with temporary results. Put it on a lot heavier this time.

    My daughter in law who used to be in charge of getting rid of invasives on Cascade Land Conservancy properties looked into mineral oil and decided not to use it.

    Someone told me recently that boiling water is the ticket. Haven’t tried that one yet but do have a propane torch that, again, seems to get temporary results.

    Digging them seems to be the only thing that really works.

  4. I’ve wrestled about 10 years now with weed/invasive plants over here on Tuttle Lane, on an old pasture above Legoe Bay. Weeds in the garden, out of the garden; in paths, under trees. In rock piles, ditches, clay, hedgerows, open fields. Grass, clover and other undesirables (for the location) even sneak into containers and the greenhouse. I’ve concluded reluctantly (lazy as I am) that there’s no quick-fix solution that’s also healthy for the soil, environment and me.

    Mulch helps, unless you have slugs or voles (I lost a lot of young trees to voles, who just love the protection from hawks that mulch — bark, ground cloth, whatever — provides). But even with mulch (sorry, Ruth Stout) there’s still physical weeding that needs doing regularly.

    My suggestions: (1) Re-interpret physical weed removal / control as an essential part of the exercise you need to stay healthy. (2) Unless you’re as crazy as I am, keep your ‘official’ garden and landscaping confined to the smallest area possible — smaller area, fewer weeds. Leave as much as possible to ‘gardening for wildlife’ (3) Keep reading and sharing information about the very real dangers of toxins (herbicides, pesticides) in chemical controls, especially to children, older people, pets — and our water supply helps me, at least, keep my sometimes itchy hands off that jug of herbicide *still* sitting in my garage, just one more time.

    As for grass and clover in gravel driveways & walkways, which I’m sort of ok with but Bill abhors, consider it as nature’s effective and cheap way for you to transition to ‘permeable paving’.

    I recommend David Mas Masumoto’s latest book on family peach farming organically, “The wisdom of the Last Farmer” for honest as well as lyrical descriptions of the hard, intelligent work such farming requires (the book is in our library system). The book is also a wonderfully open. compassionate tribute to his father’s aging and what it has meant for the whole family.

    For lots of ‘ah ha’ inspiration and information ‘weeds’ and landscaping in general, I also recommend and Sara Stein’s books “My weeds” and “Noah’s Garden” — oOutstanding information combined with graceful writing and wry humility in describing how and why she nearly completely changed her approach to gardening over the years.

  5. Thanks. Great info. And, there is always the hori hori knife about which I will someday wax poetic.

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