Gardening is a fantastic way to relax and make the outside of your home as cozy and beautiful as the inside of your home.
Besides the typical decisions regarding the types of plants to use or which gardening soil mix to utilize, there is also the case of how to dispose of the unwanted weeds and grasses that might be creeping in on your gardening perfection.
But which methods should you use? We all know how stubborn these weeds can be. Simply uprooting them and disposing of them without the help of any herbicides can be nearly impossible.
Inevitably, But deciding which one to use can also be a headache. There one specific type of herbicide that has been used in the US since it was registered in 1974 which has proven to be rather effective against most weeds and unwanted plants.
What is glyphosate?
Simply put, glyphosate is an herbicide which is applied to the leaves of plants, resulting in the demise of both broadleaf plants and grasses.
In more specific scientific terminology, glyphosate is an organophosphorus compound, an organic compound containing phosphorus. It was developed by a Monsanto chemist and introduced to the market in 1974.
Many crops have been genetically engineered by Monsanto to be resistant to glyphosate, which made it extremely convenient to use in farming.
Farmers would purchase the genetically modified crop seeds and use them for their crops while simply spraying glyphosate everywhere the crops are planted to eliminate any unwanted plants and weeds in the area.
There are over 750 products in the US which contain glyphosate. Some come in a salt form and others in an amber-colored liquid.
What plants will be effected by glyphosate?
Unless you are using the genetically engineered plants created by Monsanto, glyphosate will kill everything it touches.
This is why you have to be very careful with any product that uses glyphosate at its base. If you apply this herbicide to the wrong plant, you will have undesired effects, but if used carefully and properly then it can be very effective.
How can you be exposed to glyphosate?
Depending on the type of a product you purchased, glyphosate can enter your body through oral ingestion via mist or eating plants which are still wet with glyphosate based herbicide.
If you recently used an herbicide containing glyphosate and you proceed to eat food or smoke without washing your hands, there is a chance that you can swallow some glyphosate.
Once glyphosate has been sprayed on a plant or any other surface, there is usually very little risk that it can become vaporized again.
What are the risks associated with glyphosate ingestion or exposure?
Glyphosate by itself is not very toxic. However, other chemical elements which are present in products with glyphosate as the base herbicide can be dangerous to people and animals.
If you ingest glyphosate containing products when it is being sprayed you will most likely experience irritation or a burning sensation in your nose and throat.
If the products are sprayed in your eyes or on your skin, there is a chance of irritation as well. You should wash out any areas which have been in contact with glyphosate products as soon as possible after contact.
Swallowing glyphosate will cause severe burning and irritation in the mouth and throat, as well as most likely cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
There have been recorded deaths in the past of people who have consumed glyphosate products intentionally.
Glyphosate by itself usually doesn’t pass through your skin easily. Even when digested in small amounts, glyphosate will pass through your body without changing into another chemical and causing harm to your body.
However, this is only applicable to glyphosate as a standalone pure chemical form. When combined with other chemicals which help it get absorbed into plants, the final product can be very dangerous to humans and animals.
Should I use glyphosate at home for my gardening needs?
This decision is completely up to you. While it is found in many products which can be obtained either online or at local gardening centers, it can be very dangerous.
We always advise to use caution and common sense when working with any herbicide, be it in a home garden or in an agricultural setting.
Ultimately, you are the one responsible for creating a safe or dangerous environment around your home.
As long as you follow manufacturer suggestions for each product and stay aware of the possible dangers that the product can posses, then you should be in the clear.
But you should also always keep in mind that you are using an herbicide which is designed to kill plants and has a potential to be dangerous if used incorrectly.
The two most common brands that use glyphosate in them are Roundup and Zero. Roundup was originally developed and marketed by Monsanto.
There are also plenty of other products that use glyphosate in them, so don’t feel like you have to use one of these two. No matter which product you choose, as long as it has glyphosate at its core then the final result will effectively be the same.
Keep in mind that certain versions of this product might be specifically tailored towards home garden use and if you see the benefits in using those specific glyphosate product variations, then go for it.
Also, keep in mind that each product will have a different concentration of glyphosate in it, so if you are looking to kill only a few plants here and there and don’t necessarily have too much of a weeds problem, then perhaps the lower concentration version is best for you.
If your situation is the opposite, then using the higher concentrations stuff might be more beneficial.
Depending on which product you choose, the price will vary. On average, you can expect to spend about $20 per gallon of glyphosate product.
There are many products listed on online reseller markets, and each of them has their own claims and promises.
Choose whichever suits your needs the best. Always keep in mind that no matter which product you choose, there will always be a potential for issues if used incorrectly.
What effects does glyphosate have on wildlife?
While glyphosate by itself is extremely low in toxicity and possesses almost no danger to surrounding wildlife, the products which use it at their base can have other additional chemical elements which can affect fish, birds, and other wildlife negatively.
Glyphosate can stay in the soil where previous treatment occurred for up to 6 months. This generally isn’t an issue since glyphosate is low in toxicity, and because of how tightly bound glyphosate becomes to the soil there is no reason to worry about contaminating water sources or supplies.
One thing that people who use glyphosate-based products should keep in mind is the type of plant life that they are killing.
If certain wildlife relies on those plants for food or habitat, then destruction of these plants can cause that wildlife to leave and seek other more suitable locations for living.
What are the long term effects of glyphosate exposure?
Studies have been done on rats that have been highly exposed to glyphosate over an extended amount of time.
High doses of glyphosate have been linked to development and reproductive issues in the studied rats. High doses of glyphosate were also administered to rats during pregnancy, which resulted in slow weight gain in fetuses as well as skeletal defects in some fetuses.
There have not been any other links made between any other diseases and high glyphosate exposure.
Can glyphosate cause cancer?
Studies involving high levels of glyphosate and laboratory animals have concluded that it can have carcinogenic effects.
However, studies on cancer rates in people resulted in incompatible results which make it impossible to conclude whether glyphosate is associated with cancer in humans.
Glyphosate Review Summary
Glyphosate is a very effective herbicide. It gets the job done and eliminates unwanted plants. It is accessible to anyone and can be used by anyone around their home or farm.
The herbicide itself is low in levels of toxicity, but the chemicals which are used in combination with glyphosate in some products can cause issues and pose potential dangers to both humans and animals.
Because of this, we strongly suggest that you take extreme causation when using any products containing glyphosate. Make sure that all warning and directions are read prior to application of the product.
We also suggest that you use glyphosate products in a limited amount, considering some research does lead to reproductive issues if exposed to extremely high doses of glyphosate.
Overall, if you have tried to get rid of your weed problem through traditional methods and have proven it to be unsuccessful for you, then glyphosate can be the answer you are looking for, but if you only have a few weeds here and there then it might be best to stay away from this herbicide.