How bad is weed killer for your garden? ‘All too easy to damage or kill desirable plants’

How to remove weeds and moss from lawns

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The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) warns gardeners to only use chemical controls “in a minimal and highly targeted manner”. This is because such weed killers can cause damage to surrounding plants and soil which you might not necessarily want to kill off.

The RHS states: “Weedkiller damage can occur if the wrong type of weedkiller is used or the chemical is misapplied.

“Always read the label before applying and choose the best method of application for your situation.”

Many weed killers are made up of potent chemicals which work wonders to get rid of weeds but can last in the soil and contaminate other crops and plants.

According to experts from Gardening Know How: “The first thing to realise is if the weed killer was still present, chances are your plants would not be able to survive.

“Very few plants can survive a weed killer chemical, and the ones that do are either genetically modified to do so or are weeds that have become resistant.”

However, when it comes to soil, many weed killers actually break down in the soil within 14 days, though this will vary depending on the specific chemicals used in your chosen pesticide.

Although all herbicide lingers in the soil, often periods of rain or watering your plants can speed up this process.

Gardening Know How added: “Still, it can be argued that these chemical herbicides linger in soil well beyond a month, or even years, and it is true that residual sterilants, or ‘bare ground’ herbicides, remain in the soil for long periods.”

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In general, the chemicals found in weed killers designed for at-home use aren’t a problem for the home gardener once they have had enough time to evaporate.

But, before using it, you should always read the product label.

The RHS provides a lengthy insight into the specific chemicals used in weed killers, and what role these can play on plants in your garden.

How can you tell if your plants have been damaged by weed killer?

Plants accidentally sprayed with contact weed killers may begin to show signs of damage.

According to the RHS, this can include a “scorched appearance” or “brown spots wherever the spray droplets landed on the Leeds”.

Any bulb foliage may emerge “yellow if accidentally sprayed with a contact weedkiller before it had died back in the previous year.”

The RHS added:” Affected bulbs may be weakened for several years.”

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