How to Use Roundup Without Killing Precious Plants


Roundup is the trade name of a product containing as its active ingredient the chemical glyphosate. It is a systemic herbicide and moves through the plant's tissues via its vascular system. The leaves absorb it, it moves to the roots, and then back to the leaves. It mixes thoroughly with the plant's tissues and increases Roundup's effectiveness.

Things You'll Need

  • Canvas or plastic tarp
  • Ascertain the current wind speed and direction before spraying with Roundup. Generally speaking, do not spray Roundup for weed control when the wind speed is greater than 7 mph. If desired vegetation is right next to the weeds you are treating, lower this threshold to 2 to 3 mph. Even small amounts of the product can kill desirable plants; always spray when winds are either calm or very light.

  • Spray the plant thoroughly so its foliage is covered with the product, but do not spray so much on that it drips off the leaves onto the ground below. The excess Roundup can travel into the ground water and affect desirable plants.

  • Cover organic and non-organic mulch with a tarp if applying a large amount of Roundup to weeds growing above either of these types of mulches. Although Roundup binds to soil and other organic matter, it can sometimes become unbound from soil or mulch and affect wanted plants. This happens most often in flood situations, or in heavy rains that result in standing water. Do not apply Roundup to vegetation over organic mulch just before a rainstorm. Try to apply it when no rain is predicted for several days.

  • Do not allow Roundup to drift onto concrete or asphalt, especially if the path is sloped and desired vegetation is growing at the terminus. Heavy rain or overhead irrigation can move the Roundup down the concrete or asphalt directly into the plants you want to keep.

Tips & Warnings

  • Inorganic mulches, such as gravel or decorative rocks, do not bind with Roundup, which causes it to run off these materials. To avoid harm to plants you wish to keep, do not apply Roundup when standing water is present or when rain is expected within at least 10 days to plants growing above inorganic mulches.

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