Thursday, May 26, 2016

Greening, and resorting to Roundup.

Well, being sick or exhausted for a couple weeks we've missed the easy time to really do ground clearing, now we have a thoroughly greened area. We went from just go yank it up to, I suggest power tools. Given that this slope is a if we have time area, not a focus area I have a sneaking suspicion it isn't going to be gotten to this summer. Ahh well. That said, none of what's over there is something that has to die right now, the only weed we have around that needed to die right now was in our front garden bed, so we did something about it.

The Lady of the House did a great job of working on the front of house garden bed. Sadly I'm the one that got the photos, and this is the only one that kind of came out. She put in the herbs that we picked up from the seedling swap, and mulched the bed thoroughly. Of course, before she did that I went in to deal with our hated foe, the Snowcap. The weed that we've spent hours over 4 years, and a lot of hours of our work and friends work trying to kill. After all that time we finally gave up, and I went to a tool I thought I'd never use. Yep, Roundup. 

Obviously we're cautious about Roundup, it's a chemical that's a focus of a lot of concern right now. I could go through and pull up articles on it that show that it's both safe, and unsafe. I'm going to be blunt, I don't want to use any chemical pesticide, herbicide, or anything of that nature on our property that aren't entirely necessary. 

By this point, I'm fairly certain there isn't anything that we are able to do to the Snowcap that is going to kill it that doesn't involve herbicides. We've tried digging up damn near 2 feet down and ripping out every last bit of root we could find, and the stuff still comes back. We've tried pulling up every green bit possible, still it comes back. Well, I can say that isn't going to happen this time.
First things first. We treat Roundup as very dangerous, but with an understanding of how to use and protect ourselves from chemical poisons. Remember, the Lady of the House and I have both worked in labs with chemicals and solutions that are a lot worse than this one. One of the nice things about Roundup is that it comes in a variety of forms, so we chose one that is a foam which limits over spray, and particulate floating around. It also highlights very clearly where it is. Also, using it outside in low wind conditions strongly limits its spread. One of the things about Roundup is that it is very lethal to plants, if it touches the leaves of a plant, that plant is going to die. I'm going to say, I was actually very pleased how easy it was to use Roundup safely in terms of my health, and it was interesting to learn about proper usage of it. For instance, you want to make sure that it isn't going to rain within 30 minutes because that could spread the chemical to places you don't want, and you want the wind is as close to still as possible.
And it (mostly) works. We're going to have to do reapplication to finish off the Snowcap. It's so hearty that Roundup isn't doing a one shot kill on it. Even when I literally soaked this pile of it that doesn't have anywhere to root. I don't know what this stuff is, but if it was edible it would be amazing. Given that it's just a problem, well, it was time we couldn't fight this fight anymore.

So in the end, why did we use Roundup when we do have concerns about it?

At a certain point you have encountered an obstacle that with hand tools, and the time and energy you have you can't overcome. At that point you use different tools, tools that will be effective with the time, skill, and energy you have. In the case of weeds this pernicious, that's Roundup or other similar chemicals. I'm uncomfortable having to use it, and this isn't ever going to be a regular weed killer on our property, but in this case, it became our last resort.

On an ethical level I'm uncomfortable giving Monsanto any money at all given their behaviors, but there isn't a company that produces herbicides that I want to give money to, and I know Roundup works very well. I can't let this invasive species expand out of the garden and into the yards and the woods and where ever else. I also can't spend all spring, summer, and fall exclusively trying to fight this thing. Can't say if it was the best decision, but it is the one I felt we had to make given our situation.


  1. I fully understand y'all's decision ---- sometimes we just have to take an easy, effective way. Roundup isn't totally terrible. It's not as though y'all are soaking the ground with it on a daily basis and watching it run into the ground water! I've always believed in working smarter and more efficiently, not harder! In this case it was right to get out the Roundup!

  2. Yeah, at some point, you have to do what's efficient, or you'll spend all your waking hours pulling that one patch of weeds. All my gardening is in containers, so I don't have to worry about weeds or "volunteer" plants, ha.

    I remember my granny pouring a kettle of boiling water on stubborn weeds to kill the roots. Maybe that would help too?

    1. Unfortunately we tried the boiling water trick and all it did was water this stuff. It's something else.