The Dangers of Spraying Weedkiller To The Trees & Plants In Your Yard

When it comes to spraying weedkiller around trees and throughout your landscape, it may be more dangerous to existing plants than you might think.

Beyond weedkillers harmful effects to bees and important pollinators, and their possible contamination to wells and nearby water supplies – they can also be quite harmful to the long-term health of trees, shrubs and perennials in your landscape.

dangers of spraying weedkillers
Herbicides can be extremely detrimental to pollinators such as bees and butterflies. But they can also injure existing perennial, trees and bushes too.

Especially when sprayed in excessive amounts around the entire root zones of trees and plants.

How Spraying Weedkiller Can Be Harmful To Existing Trees & Plants

Weedkillers works via foliar absorption. When sprayed onto the leaves of plants, the chemical is then absorbed into the plant. For that very reason, many use it right up onto the base of trees and bushes, thinking it cannot harm these non-leaf areas.

dead grass
Defoliating large swaths with herbicides can cause a rippling effect of issues, not to mention take out large populations of bees and beneficial insects.

But there are two problems with that concept. One is that many trees and shrubs send up small shoots in the root zone nearby. And these shoots, with their tiny foliage, can indeed absorb the chemical and injure the tree.

The second issue is that by spraying and defoliating large areas around trees and bushes, the bare ground exposes the root zones to massive moisture loss.

Edging sidewalks with a string-trimmer may take a bit more time, but it is a better and safer alternative than “spray-edging”.

Without any mulch or ground cover around a tree, the sun can quickly dry out the soil, and the roots below. This can be especially detrimental to newly planted or young trees.

Alternatives To Spraying Weedkiller

So what are the best alternatives to spraying herbicides to control weeds around trees, plants and hardscape areas? Well, that all depends on what and where you will be spraying.

Controlling Weeds Around Trees & Plants

When it comes to keeping weeds out of flowerbeds, and away from trees and shrubs, nothing works better than a heavy coating of mulch.

mulching
Mulching around trees not only suppresses competing weeds, it conserves valuable moisture. A far better option than spraying the area around trees.

Mulch not only insulates and protect plant’s root systems, it also helps conserve moisture. To be effective for weed control, mulch must be applied at least 4 to 6″ deep around trees and shrubs.

And if you don’t want to mulch around trees, simply using a string trimmer to keep weeds and grass down is the best answer. That patch of grass under the trees is vital to keeping moisture to the trees!

Driveways, Walkways & Patios

For hardscape areas like walkways and driveways, horticultural vinegar is an excellent option vs. spraying weedkiller. The higher acidity of horticultural vinegar (30%) compared to store-bought vinegar (5%) serves as an effective weed killer. See: How To Use Vinegar To Control Weeds

killing weeds without spraying weedkiller
A weed torch is excellent for clearing hardscape areas of your landscape of weeds.

Another great option in these non-growing areas is a weed torch. Weed torches make quick work of burning out weeds without the need to spray anything at all.

They work by using propane to fire up a flaming tip to burn weeds to the ground. In addition to working for weeds, they also make a great fire pit starter! Product Link : Weed Burner Torch

And of course, there is always a string trimmer when it comes to edging walkways or trimming the sides of barns, sheds and your house. It may take a bit more work, but it is a far safer option – for you and the environment!

Here is to keeping weeds under control naturally – and without the need for spraying weedkiller!

This Is My Garden is a garden website created by gardeners, publishing two articles every week, 52 weeks a year. This article may contain affiliate links.

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