RoundUp weedkiller replacement

Asked March 10, 2019, 6:32 PM EDT

I would like to stop using RoundUp for weed control but haven't figured out what is safe for me and effective in killing weeds. I have 5 acres cross-fenced for horses and use Round-up for fencelines, around buildings (barn and house), all the driveway and parking gravel, around trees where it is difficult to mow, and along the road (although the county will get this if I don't). Usually I put out 9-10 3-gallon backpacks 3 times during the growing season (now, early summer, fall after the rains start).

Clackamas County Oregon

5 Responses

Thank you for your question. I appreciate your wanting to limit the use of herbicides. You indicate that you want to use an herbicide other than Roundup (glyphosate) that is safe for you and effective in killing weeds. Before I give you an answer, I am wondering if the safety angle applies to your horses as well. Used according to label directions, virtually any commercial herbicide is safe for use. The problem is that many people to do not read and follow the label, and, in the case of animals, allow them onto the property before the herbicide has completely dissipated. Are you able to keep your horse(s) away from treated plants?

It would also be helpful to know whether the plants you're after are grasses, broadleaf or a combination of both. Some herbicides target only grasses; others, only broadleaf plants; and others--glyphosate among them--both categories. If you can supply a bit more information, I'll get you a research-based answer. Thanks!

Thank you for your reply. I understand that it is safe for use for the horses if I follow the directions, which I do. I do not put the horses in pastures where I have sprayed the fenceline for 2 weeks. My concern is that I keep seeing articles that glyphosate causes cancer, and I would prefer to not expose myself to that risk.
I am after a combination of both grasses and broadleaf. The places that I am spraying, I really do not want anything growing there.
It does not necessarily need to be an herbicide; some have written about vinegar and soap, and other "home" remedies. In the same article they say to use AG strength vinegar, with warnings of it's own about being safe around it. It may be that I just need to take better precautions for myself and continue with herbicides. Round-up is easy to use - you put it out there, and things die. But I don't want to die too. So I would appreciate the research-based answer!
Let me know if you have more questions.

Regardless of whether it is a commercially manufactured chemical or a "home" remedy (which Extension offices are proscribed from recommending), if they kill a plant, they are a herbicide. The problem with vinegar at any strength (5% from the refrigerator or 20% that you can buy online) is that they are toxic to humans, and have no instructions for safe use and precautions.

The information about glyphosate being a carcinogen is based upon litigation in California brought by workers who used it in their daily work--in many cases without proper care for their safety and welfare. If you follow the label directions, it is unlikely that it will be a health hazard to you or your animals. That is why it is still an authorized herbicide under the EPA's guidelines, and that is communicated by the Extension office which give advice on the topic. So, use it correctly, wait the requisite amount of time before re-entry, and you should live a long, healthy life!

Hi again, I have a couple more questions.
I remembered when I went to check supplies, that I now use a generic glyphosate product instead of Round-up. I assume the same comments - safe if I follow label directions.
I wondered if you recommend using a mask when spraying? I haven't seen recommendations for that - usually gloves and glasses and long sleeve shirts and pants. If yes, are there different grades/kinds of masks, and if so, what is recommended for use with glyphosate proudcts?

Thanks for the followup, Helen. The EPA (and therefore the legal requirements for safe usage) rules are on the package information. At the state level, we can recommend no less protective measures, but you are free to use more protective mechanisms. The lawsuits that challenge those measures are brought by workers using it on a daily basis. I hope that is not you!