Frequently, we run into homeowners who are frustrated in staying ahead of weeds germinating in their landscaping beds. Because of this year’s great growing season with above average rainfall, like turf, weeds grow faster than ever. Many homeowners try to combat this by hand pulling weeds out of the mulch beds. Often this is anti-productive because breaking the weed roots leaves sections of root intact in the ground and merely serves to propagate the weed. It would be much easier and more effective to spray undesired vegetation with Roundup (glycophosphate). By using this systemic herbicide, the entire plant is killed. The easiest and most economical way to handle this product for homeowners is to purchase a backpack sprayer and a 2.5 gallon container of Roundup. This size container offers a great price advantage and is usually sold in more concentrated formulas. Roundup has a long shelf life (several years) as long as it is not allowed to freeze. By using a backpack sprayer, a person can work more efficiently because the weight of the pesticide container is spread evenly across their shoulders making it possible to carry more herbicide at a time. The upright posture is much more comfortable and the sprayer can be pumped while walking, eliminating the need to stop and pump.
Spot herbicide spraying should become part of routine maintenance. Every third or fourth time the lawn is mowed, the homeowner should selectively spray for weeds in plant beds. As always, standard precautions should be taken regarding personal safety and avoiding spray drift. Roundup is most effective at killing grass like weeds but does a reasonable job when sprayed on the foliage of most plants. To avoid herbicide damage, hold the spray nozzle close to ground level pointed away from the desirable, ornamental plant material. It is helpful to use the outside of your leg to hold shrub branches back and then spray inside your ankle. Back pack sprayers and Roundup can make quick work of pesky weeds!