Although I strongly disapprove of using chemical herbicides, I am a realist and acknowledge that some weeds are very difficult to eradicate by non-chemical means.
Therefore I sometimes give tips about how to use a chemical weed killer in a more safe manner to clean up a problem.
An example of this is convolvulus coming through a fence line from next door. What you do is place a dish or container with a systemic herbicide such as Roundup into the container and you then place the growing tips into the solution.
The plant is forced to take up the solution and this flows back along the entire root system of that bit of convolvulus killing it out completely. You repeat the same with all new growths and then you should be free of the problem for sometime. Simple, effective and less damage done when compared to spraying.
Thus chemical herbicides do have a place and should only be used sparingly and try to avoid any use in food growing areas.
About a month ago I received an email from Andy Spence and this is what he had to say about ‘Cut n Paste’, a new weed control weapon:
“My product was developed over a a few years when I was the Park Ranger at Whakanewha Regional Park on Waiheke Island and the Biosecurity Officer for the island.
“Waiheke is laughingly called WeedHeke by those in the know and with good reason. We have many people here who are very anti chemicals and sprays. My experience with trying to kill persistent weeds with non systemic herbicides led me to develop my product. It is Glyphosate based but puts the active ingredient in a gel form that is very safe and easy to use and so many people who previously were very reluctant to use sprays feel fine with using the gel. You put the gel exactly where you want it and it stays in the plant and doesn’t migrate through the soil unlike a competitive product. It also kills problem grasses and almost everything else including some things that Glyphosate as a spray won’t touch, like ginger and ivy’s and some bamboos.”
I was very interested and I told Andy that I would write about ‘Cut n Paste’ so gardeners could try it out for themselves.
As I have been very busy relocating to another residence in Palmerston North, Andy supplied me with the following:
“Cut’n’Paste is a very low toxicity (9.1D), glyphosate based, brush on weedkiller gel that can be a very effective answer to weed control. Because it’s a gel applied with a brush, it’s highly targeted. It just goes into the plant that you want to remove and that’s where it stays. The plant dies in situ and you can just leave it to rot away. It won’t translocate through the soil to affect other plants.
The bottle is a bright blue which is hard to lose in the garden whilst you’re working away. The bright orange brush top is convenient to apply the gel and the cap prevents the gel from getting on your hands and clothes. You need very little pressure on the bottle and brush to make the gel go on.
To deal to a large weed like gorse or Chinese privet you need a pair of good loppers or a garden hand saw. Just cut the plant as low to the ground as you can and immediately apply the gel to the freshly cut stump. The plant will suck in the herbicide and not re-sprout again. When the weed is still small it’s simple to just paste a little gel onto the underside of some of the top leaves. The gel is then slowly taken into the plant through the stomata over a few hours. Plants that are very resistant to sprays are affected by the gel because the gel holds the herbicide in place for much longer forcing the plant to take it in. When you’re painting onto leaves it makes sense to wear a pair of rubber gloves to get the gel off your fingers.
For those who understand a bit about herbicides, this one uses a glyphosate formulation that was chosen especially for it’s mild detergents (surfactants) that are much less toxic to animals but just as toxic to plants. The trials of the product have all shown that it’s effective on a very broad range of plants including really tough ones like ginger and agapanthus, all the broadleaf weeds and grasses too.
Large pampass grasses can be killed by pasting the gel into a number of the growing shoots (the large the plant the more shoots that need to be treated). Gorse is a doddle, just cut and paste! It’s much easier to get rid of the branches of a live gorse bush that a dead one after it’s been sprayed.”
If you want to try out the product ask for it at your local garden centre and if they don’t know about it tell them to contact me for details. I think it could solve a lot of weed problems for gardeners in a safer manner than spraying.