What is an herbicide?
An herbicide is a chemical used to kill or inhibit the growth of weeds and other unwanted plant pests. There are two kinds of herbicides. Species-specific herbicides are designed to kill a specific kind of plant only, leaving other desirable plants unharmed. Non-specific herbicides kill every plant they contact.
How do herbicides work?
Every herbicide works in one of two ways. The first way is by contact, wherein the herbicide kills only the parts of the plant they are directly applied to. Herbicides that work through contact are considered fast-acting. The second way is by systemic action, wherein the herbicide is absorbed into the plant either by its roots or waxy surface, and then moves throughout the entire plant shutting down all of its functions. Herbicides that work systemically are slow-acting.
When should you use an herbicide?
An herbicide is appropriate any time that you have pest plants or weeds that are competing with desired plants or crops for space, water, light, and nutrients. They are often used in lawn and garden care to achieve a desired aesthetic effect. They are also used in farming where crop productivity is decreased by certain plant pests.
How are herbicides applied?
Most herbicides come in granule or liquid form to be mixed with water in a one gallon sprayer or two gallon sprayer. The herbicide you choose will have very specific instructions on the label as to how the chemical should be mixed and handled. The label will also tell you how much solution should be used for the size area to be treated. Always read the entire label before applying an herbicide or other lawn and garden product, and pay particular attention to the instructed use of safety clothing such as gloves and eyewear!
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