Here in central/south Texas the planting season is right around the corner. As plants begin to grow so do the weeds. It’s a good time to begin bed preparation even though the weather is can still dip down to freezing temperatures. There is a go to product on the shelf of your local garden supply house that everyone knows which can help. RoundUp is a broad spectrum herbicide and you can use it to kill many weeds. However there are some misconceptions on what it does and its capabilities.
First things first, what is it? RoundUp is Glyphosate and was first used as a herbicide by Monsanto Chemist John E. Franz in the early 1970s. Monsanto trademarked the name RoundUp and put it on the market in the 70’s as well. Glyphosate works by inhibiting the use of an enzyme called EPSP synthase. If the plants do not use this enzyme they cannot produce the proteins that they need to grow. So they turn yellow and die. Unfortunately most plants use the same enzyme so it is not plant specific and should be applied carefully.
RoundUp comes in several containers and varieties. The basic form of RoundUp comes with the white container and blue cap. One of the biggest misconceptions that I have found talking with customers has been the longevity of the product. Basic ‘blue’ RoundUp has a life of 72 hours once sprayed on plant material. This has benefits as well as disadvantages. The benefits of killing specific plant material for short term clean up is good. The life of 72 hours allows you to come back in once the area has been cleaned to install new plant material or other products. If you are strictly using it to maintain and kill weeds for general maintenance you will find yourself coming back again and again to take care of the same area. The blue cap product comes in several containers including a pump sprayer.
For those that like to get concentrates the red cap RoundUp is for you. This product is like the blue in most respects and has the same characteristics such as a 72 hour after spray life span. The container has a cap that can be used to measure for mixing. You can buy your own 1 and 3 gallon sprayers for about $10-20. This is my prefereed method for application. I buy the concentrate and have my own sprayers. I do recommend getting duct tape and labeling the canister with a sharpe. I also use the generic pump sprayers for applying liquid feeds and fertilizers. If you leave RoundUp residue in your container and spray plant food into your beds you’re going to be disappointed.
There is a purple capped concentrate that is slightly different than the red cap. While it is ideal for large area projects it apparently is better for use around vegetable gardens (see the usage chart for more details).
RoundUp now offers products that will provide a much longer life than the 72 hours of the red, blue, and purple capped products. RoundUP Extended and RoundUp 365 are for longterm weed control solutions. Both offer various container types including the pump and trigger sprays. Concentrates are available in both as well.
The RoundUp Extended gives you a 4 month life for weed control. This product takes a little longer to set before results are visible. Where the blue cap activity becomes visible in 3 hours the extended may take 6 hours before you notice the weed to begin to wither.
The newest product in the arsenal is RoundUp 365. Like its name the life of the product is aimed to give you a full year of weed prevention. There are a couple other products that similar to ‘365’ on the market. One key component to the RoundUp 365 that beats the competitors is that it has a leaching agent in the mix. This helps prevent the chemical from spreading in the soil from rain fall and other factors throughout the year.
There is one more factor that must be put in place to really clean out the weeds from your yard. Treating the area with a pre-emergent that helps prevent the seeds from germinating and is a key action to stop new growth of weeds. The RoundUp only kills what has already begun to grow. There are several products on the market to choose from.
In addition to the RoundUp products they have introduced another product with a yellow cap that focuses on poison ivy and woody brush problems.
For more information check out the RoundUp.com website.