Despite repeated studies showing the dangerous effects to health of Roundup, Monsanto’s globally known herbicide, lots of people still insist on using it for protecting their plants from pests. Roundup is a broad-spectrum herbicide and has negative effects on nearly every plant it comes into contact with.

It is used for spot treatment of lawns, gardens, paved areas and also, agricultural crops. The glyphosate in Roundup binds with soil, which means that when glyphosate touches the ground, it will run off into our water systems and become active there, waiting to pounce one more time.

A few decades ago, the glyphosate in Roundup was commonly thought to be non-toxic to humans. However, recent studies revealed that glyphosate is not the only dangerous compound in Roundup. There are other supposedly “inert compounds” that have been discovered to be toxic to humans in this herbicide. In early 2016, six people (mostly farmers) filed cases against Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, accusing Monsanto to be responsible for them developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma after years of spraying Roundup on crops.

In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate a “probable human carcinogen”.

Alternatives to Roundup on Crops

Acetic acid, fatty acids, and essential oils act as herbicides to crops. Herbicides, as everyone knows, kill the pests in your crops but leave dangerous chemicals behind. Vinegar (acetic acid), fatty acids, and essential oils can all act as herbicides to crops.

Acetic acid or Vinegar

Acetic acid or vinegar can be sprayed on weeds to burn down the plant. When vinegar is sprayed on certain plants, the plant begins to burn. But unlike Roundup, vinegar will only burn the leaves of the  weeds, leaving no leaves behind. Vinegar will not contaminate your lawn or your land; the only thing that can happen is those Monsanto guys coming back and selling more herbicides to you.

Fatty Acids

Some fatty acids that often sell in the form of soaps can also be used as an alternative to Roundup. This solution works like vinegar in such a way that it also burns the leaves of the plant. It works only for a very short time; after the 1st application, the soap becomes useless.

The most common fatty acid is pelargonic acid which has very low toxicity and considered environmentally friendly.

Essential oils

Essential oils such as citronella, clove, pine, and peppermint have been growing in demand and popularity as herbicides. Like fatty acids and vinegar, they burn the foliage but not the roots unless you add surfactants. Unlike the previous two natural herbicides mentioned, essential oils have a problem of penetrating into the roots because sometimes they evaporate.

A better alternative is to plant native flowers or grasses in your lawn or garden that help reduce the number of weeds that may attempt to grow and compete for nutrients in the soil.

Do you have better ideas for organic or natural herbicides and pesticides? Why don’t you share your ideas with us here in the comments? We would love to hear them.

Image by Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0