Treflan for Vegetable Gardens

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Treflan controls weeds in vegetable gardens.
Treflan controls weeds in vegetable gardens. (Image: garden image by Pity from Fotolia.com)

Treflan is an herbicide manufactured by Dow that prevents the growth of grassy weeds and some broadleaf weeds in commercial vegetable growing operations. Some gardeners also use it for weed control. Gardeners who choose to use chemical weed control should observe all of the safety warnings on the product label and use Treflan only as directed.

Definition/Basics

Treflan is one of several brand names for the chemical herbicide trufluralin. When used properly, it is an effective product for home vegetable gardeners to use for weed control. Treflan is incorporated into the garden soil as long as four weeks prior to planting vegetables. It works by killing grassy weeds and some broadleaf weeds when their seeds start to germinate. Treflan will not kill weeds that are already standing prior to its application.

Treflan can be used in tomato and pepper plots.
Treflan can be used in tomato and pepper plots. (Image: fresh natural vegetable background with tomatoes image by jonnysek from Fotolia.com)

Safety

Treflan is a poison and must be handled with extreme care according to its label instructions. Treflan is toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms, as well as to grassy weeds and plants. It contains compounds that are known to be hazardous to human health. Contact with Treflan can cause skin and eye irritation. Medical attention is necessary if a person swallows Treflan. Vomiting should not be induced, since aspirating the chemical into the lungs can result in serious medical complications. Limited exposure to Treflan vapors should not be harmful, but the chemical should be used only in well ventilated areas.

Alternatives

A home gardener has many choices about how to control weeds. Chemical herbicides such as Treflan are effective, but they may not be the safest and most environmentally friendly choice. Other weed-control methods can be just as effective, especially in small gardens. Mulching with bark, wood chips, plastic, newspapers or other materials around garden vegetable plants can prevent the growth of weeds. Weeding by hand is an effective way to eliminate weeds, and is also good exercise.

Treflan Application

Treflan is available at many home garden centers and hardware stores. It is packaged in both granular and liquid form. The instructions for application of each form of Treflon must be followed carefully to ensure that the proper concentration of the chemical is incorporated into the garden soil. Treflan should be mixed into the top 3 inches of soil, either by mechanical tilling or by irrigating with sufficient water to carry the herbicide into the soil.

Vegetables Compatible with Treflan

A home gardener should use Treflan to treat only the types of vegetables that are compatible with its use. Treflan is effective for weed control in cabbage, beans, broccoli, peas, kale, peanuts, transplanted tomatoes, transplanted peppers and other plants specified on the product label. Since Treflan kills grasses, it should not be applied to soil intended for growing corn or other grass-related crops. Effective application of the herbicide is made easier by planting Treflan-compatible vegetables in one sector of the garden and grassy plants that would be harmed by Treflan in another sector of the garden.

Treflan is not compatible for use with corn.
Treflan is not compatible for use with corn. (Image: corn-cobs image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com)

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