Whats with all the Round-Up?

jane__ny(9-10)August 5, 2012

Just bought a house, haven't moved in yet. The lawn was overgrown and I asked a gardener, mowing at the house next-door, if he would cut the lawn. He said, yes and asked if I wanted weeding and some areas cleared out. I told him to go ahead.

He mowed the lawn and I met with him yesterday to ask him to clear some overgrown beds and add wood chips.

He started working and I noticed his helpers spraying something around the buses and all the beds. A large area of overgrowth was sprayed. I went out to ask what he was doing, he said spraying Round-Up. I was shocked.

I requested he stop and to turn over the beds and let the weeds die. He said you don't do that in Florida, the weeds are too aggressive and Round-Up is the only thing which will kill them.

I have never used this stuff. They were spraying around all the shrubs, trees and open over-growth.

What is this stuff (I know its a weed-killer), and how harmful is it to the environment? Is it true that gardeners do not clear beds by turning over the soil?

Jane

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coffeemom(Broward z10)

Well if you turned the beds over you would be planting the seeds and after this last rain the seeds would be turning into weeds.
I use Round-up for weed and grass control. I was told in the Master Gardener class that it was OK.
I hate Monsanto, but that's another story.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 2:49PM
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jenniferinfl(9B Florida)

I don't turn the beds over for weed control either, I just go around with a small bucket and pull weeds here and there about every other day. There is one bed I can't weed effectively as it's full of pygmy rattlesnakes. When I'm feeling brave I go in and pull the biggest weeds and pat myself on the back for not getting bit. I don't know how far you'd have to turn them over for them not to come back, but, I know it's deeper than 6" as that's how far I turned it with a shovel before planting anything in it and the weeds were back up through the mulch in under a week.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 3:07PM
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starryrider(9)

Round Up breaks down fairly quickly.
It is absorbed through the foliage it is sprayed on so it is ok to use around exisiting plants as long as they don't get overspray. Try using Preen in your beds to prevent new weeds from germinating.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 3:07PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

RoundUp's exclusive patent ended a long time ago. For anyone that doesn't want to support Monsanto, you can buy "Eliminator" which is Walmart's house brand and has identical ingredients, product for product (Ready-to-use spray, Concentrate, and Super-Concentrate).

Carol in Jacksonville

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 6:18PM
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tropicbreezent

The main ingredient in Round Up is glyphosate, so just look around for products which list that for their contents. It comes in various concentrations so different products will have varying instructions on dilution.

On the effects of glyphosate, yes it does break down within a few days. Until that time it is very toxic to frogs (amphibians) and fish/aquatic life. Best not used near watercourses, ponds, dams, etc., especially when rain is around or immanent.

Use only at recommended dilution rates (or even a little lower depending on the weed). It needs to be absorbed into the plant and transported around. Too high a level will cause a 'burning' of the outer leaf surfaces of the plant and prevent proper absorption deeper into the plant. That means that after a small set back the plant could revive.

Once in the soil it's broken down rapidly by micro-organisms, as it contains phosphorus. There's another long term effect here. It promotes certain mirco-organisms but not a lot of others. Constant use will cause an imbalance in the soil as those organisms favoured start to over populate.

Another effect of constant use is a build up of resistance. Some members of the weed population will have some resistance to glyphosate and will be able to breed and cross pollinate producing plants with a higher chance of being resistant. This has become a big problem in the US where it has been used for a long time as well as over used unnecessarily. It's a good idea to change herbicides regularly so that if anything does develop a resistance it will be knocked out by the next chemical.

Like with anything, there's good and bad. The main thing is to be informed so you can make the best decision for your own circumstances.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 6:54PM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

I think what's overlooked is that not all weeds here are the same - there are many that you can easily pull/hoe & leave in place to break down (unless they're seedy), while some are incredibly tough & have deep, strong roots - so the weedkillers may not be as effective on them anyway.

IMPO, spraying weedkillers is often a lazy approach w/ limited effect - not everybody is willing or able to hoe & pull a lot of weeds. Don't believe everything you hear from the local yard guys - they're not always the brightest, IME.

& there are less toxic herbicides to be had. & almost everywhere around here is close to waterways. & sandy soils drain quite quickly - meaning potentially harmful stuff can leach through in no time.

just saying.....

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 7:46AM
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coffeemom(Broward z10)

Thanks Carol, I'll look for the generic.
I use it mainly between the pavers and on the mulch walkways. I'm not a lazy gardener. I hand pull what I can, but my hands are starting to bother me after all those years of dog grooming.
What's in Preen? How does that work?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:46AM
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starryrider(9)

Don't remember the chemical in Preen but it is a preemergent. there is also an organic Preen made from corm gluten.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 11:01AM
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annafl(z9b/10a Sarasota)

Hi Jane,

Don't know if you saw my last message on your previous post, but congrats on your new house!!! Very exciting. If you'd like any help/advice on your landscaping, I'd love to take a look. Is it far from me?

As far as the glyphosphate (round-up), it degrades pretty quickly, so not as awful as some other sprays. Some say it's the other compounds in the spray itself that are more harmful to the environment (petroleum derivatives?). In any case, it kills/stunts anything it comes in contact with, even exposed roots, so you have to be extremely careful of the drift if you spray it. Because of this, I only use it to get rid of things I can't kill any other way, and when I do, I usually paint it on. Actually, I haven't had to use it in about 6-7 years. As you know, I use cardboard/newspaper topped with mulch and it works much better. It's very important to not turn the soil or disturb it in any way, as it just brings seeds to the surface and creates a bigger problem. I've controlled the weeds in my yard with cardboard for the last 6-7 years.

Congrats again on your new piece of paradise, and don't worry about rattlers. I've been gardening in FL in the bushes and overgrowth for over 22 years and haven't seen one yet.

Anna

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 12:38PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

I'm in complete agreement with what Anna said about cardboard under mulch. I did this for the first time this year around and under the raised beds and containers in my backyard veggie garden and it has worked beautifully. Just be sure to overlap the cardboard several inches when you lay it down, so there is no way for the weeds to sneak through. THICK layers of overlapped newspapers can be used instead of the cardboard if newspapers are easier for you to get in quantity.

Good luck with your new Florida home!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 12:59PM
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sis3

I know this has been discussed many times but would you please describe the cardboard/newspaper/mulch method in more detail, Anna or anyone who has used this method successfully (how thick, what depth of mulch, watering etc). I have a large area I need to clear of grass and I am sure some of the newer members would also be interested in this method. Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 1:11PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I'm against using chemicals anywhere. I had to spray with a back pack sprayer once a week for a year when I worked at a nursery. I think that is part of the reason I have COPD. If you mulch thick enough you shouldn't have any or very few weeds that you can pull your self. Landscapers have become terribly lazy.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 3:23PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

You can boost the effectiveness of glyphosphate and use far less than the recommended dose of the concentrate if you acidify the water. Adding 1 tsp a gallon of Ammonium sulphate to your sprayer will allow you to use just 1/2 to 3/4 the recommended rate of the glyphosphate for the same killing power. The ammonium sulphate will also add some nitrogen to the soil and some sulfur. The ammonium sulphate is 21-0-0.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:04AM
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shuffles_gw

bamboo rabbit, do you think that would work with citric acid? I usually add a little Greased Lightning when I spray my generic roundup.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 4:12PM
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saldut

I use Round Up on my paver walkway and borders, but keep it far away from my roses.. in the rose-beds I use roofing shingles, I've found they don't blow away like papers or cardboard and because they do have some weight and are black, they suffocate the weeds quicker... after a week or so I pick them up or move them around and then cover that area w/mulch.... being dark they don't 'show'... and they last for years before they start to disintegrate....I get a bundle at HD or Lowes ....sally

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 4:22PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Shuffles,

I don't know, it might? There is no reason not to use the ammonium sulfate though, plants love it.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 5:51PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

Thanks for all the good advice. I really don't want to use toxic chemicals and am surprised how freely Round-Up seems to be used in Florida. I never used it in my NY gardens.

I had no idea the soil shouldn't be turned. I have always turned the mulch into my garden beds in the Fall in NY. So cardboard and mulch, without disturbing the soil is the trick. I certainly will have plenty of cardboard boxes after we move in! I'll save the boxes.

Anna, you are such a doll. Thank you for the good wishes, we are so happy to have finally found a place. What a long, exhausting search. Almost a year. We will miss Siesta and the beautiful beach and breezes. We found a house off University, near Palm Aire golf course. We really don't know the area, but there is a lot of shopping. Takes us about 20-30 minutes to Siesta depending on traffic.

We haven't moved in yet as we are having the house painted and tile put down. The dust in the house is horrible. We had all the popcorn ceilings removed and it really made a mess. Can't open the windows to try to air it out. Don't know if we'll ever get the dust out!

The garden is a mystery and I would love it if you could stop over. Actually I am inviting anyone from the forum to come over. I have no idea where to begin. The property is somewhat overgrown but also has a lot of lawn, which I'd love to elimate (at least a large part of it.) There are trees and shrubs I can't identify. I'll post more pictures.

Anna, please email me if you want to take the drive. I'd be thrilled to see you again.

Jane

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 10:18PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

I'm not saying how you should go about doing your yard, as it is ultimately up to you, but some things you might want to check on, especially since you said you wanted to eliminate lawn and you seem to be somewhat environmentally conscious, are these sites that I have found as I have been delving more and more into gardening/landscaping in Florida.

Plant Real Florida - A site about keeping it native, noninvasive and fairly lawn free. This site can give you a list of landscapers and nurseries in your area that specialize in Florida Friendly yards. Unless you're in Marion county. Marion county seems to be devoid of environmentally minded people.

University of Florida Lawn and Garden - An indispensable source of information provide by UF. I have learned to always cross-reference plants here because they provide so much more information. You can also find a website for your local extension office here which tends to be full of information specifically for your area. I don't know about the other extension offices, but the Lake County one also has the Discovery Gardens which is demonstration garden where they have 20 different garden types that have been localized to Central Florida. A great place for ideas or to just find some quiet. Plus they keep a Master Gardener on staff to answer any walk-in questions.

UF Guide to Plant Selection and Landscape Design - Same people, but this is a direct link to an older version of their handbook (in PDF form) that is chocked full of tasty information.

Florida Native Plant Society - Not so much a site for information, but a site to find gardening events around your area. You can also find your own local chapter of the FNPS which should have it's own page. Some chapters seem to be more active than others. They also have a very small selection of native wildflower seeds in their Store.

Hoe and Shovel - A blog that is one part inspiration and one part informational. There's even a few blogs about using newspaper to kill off parts of the lawn for garden beds.

Florida Native Plants Database - A web-based application that lets you provide certain basic information and will give you a list of plants suitable for your area. Despite it's name, it is not restricted to JUST native plants, but noninvasive plants as well. WARNING This was the first site I found and used, and while helpful it can be misleading. A lot of information it provides is very generalized and might not apply to your area. For example: It told me I could grow Elephant Ears in my area and that they enjoy full sun. But... for Zone 9a, Elephant Ears actually prefer partial sun. My poor Elephant Ears that were planted in direct, full sun got baked and sunburned. Now I always cross-reference plants it suggests with the UF/IFAS site.

Garden Web Forums - Florida - A good place to get in contact with some generally nice and helpful individuals who live in Florida and have real world experience and wisdom to imp... uh... nevermind.

There are some other websites that I tend to use, but I'm still fueling up on coffee and my brain hasn't kicked into high gear yet. But these few will provide a lot of information and ideas.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 8:29AM
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