If you spend enough time in the garden or farm, then you are no stranger to the struggle of removing weeds.
Unfortunately, these invasive visitors tend to pop up the second your plants start to thrive, which not only interferes with the beauty of the space you worked hard to create but also affects the health of your beloved plants.
Removing the weeds by hand is a safe means of getting rid of them, but it can be exhausting, especially if you are working with ample space and having to do it often. At the same time, it can be scary to use weed killers because of the risk of harming your plants.
So, how can you use weed killers in a way that is both safe and highly effective?
In this article, we’ll show you effective weed killers to use and how to use them safely, as well as alternative methods you can use to kill weeds but not trees.
Weed killers that are safe to use around trees
These are the most effective weedkillers that are safe for use around trees.
1. Roundup weed killer
Roundup is a systemic, broad-spectrum, glyphosate-based weed killer brand, the most widely used in the U.S. Glyphosate works by blocking certain enzymes, preventing weeds from creating essential proteins, thus killing them.
You’re probably wondering whether or not you can use Roundup around your trees, and the short answer is yes.
As long as the product does not come into contact with the foliage and leaves, your mature trees should be alright because Roundup works against enzymes, which are present in the photosynthetic sites of plants.
When using RoundUp around your seedlings and young plants, spray on days when there isn’t much wind. This can help to prevent windborne spray from reaching their delicate roots and leaves.
Avoid spraying during the rainy season to prevent run-off rainwater from reaching seedling roots.
2. 2,4-D weed killer
Because of the strength of this product, it is no surprise that so many people are concerned about whether you can use 2,4-D around trees. But unfortunately, this product can harm or even kill your trees if it is not used correctly.
Extensive research has shown that 2,4-D is an effective killer of most plant species, including trees. So you must be careful when using this weed killer around trees.
If you decide to use this product, take the necessary precautions: spray a minimal amount at the base, and avoid the leafy parts.
If it does get on the leaves, immediately rinse the plant off with clean water. A plant will absorb 2,4-D within an hour. So it is best to spray it with water as soon as possible to avoid damage.
Cover delicate plant species, such as palms, with tarps to protect them from the windborne spray. You must also avoid oversaturating your soil with other chemical or organic herbicides.
Even with all this information on how to safely use weed killer around trees, it can still be a scary little gambling with the health of your precious plants and trees.
Natural ways to kill weeds around trees
There are still some safe and organic alternatives for chemical weed killers. So here is a list of sprays that don’t kill trees:
Mix one part of iodized table salt with eight pieces of water and spray on the leaves of the weeds as often as you see fit.
Do not overuse this method, as too much salt in the soil can harm the plants you are trying to protect.
2. White vinegar
Because of white vinegar’s high acidity, this is a very effective and fast-acting herbicide. Use this the same way you would the salt water solution.
However, take extra care to prevent it from contact with your skin and other plants.
3. Boiling water
This is probably the safest method, especially for areas you plan to utilize later, since it does not cause any damage.
However, you should be careful not to let it touch flowers and other delicate plants.
We’ve talked about using boiling water for weed elimination in detail. Make sure to check out our guidelines in order to do it right.
In conclusion, it is perfectly safe to use weed killer around your trees, as long as you take the necessary precautions to prevent them from being damaged.
However, if you are still a little sceptical about herbicides, there are plenty of other safe methods that you can use to kill weeds and still keep your trees safe.
Carla is a student pursuing a B.S in Agricultural Systems Technology. With a passion for landscaping for over 4 years, Carla loves plants. She has previously contributed to several other sites in the space before joining InsightWeeds.