Safe and effective alternative to Roundup for weeds?

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Hi there, I live in a condo building and the landscaper we've hired has proposed using Roundup in our courtyard area to deal with weeds. Concerned about the fact that Roundup has been deemed a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization (and banned in the Netherlands, with bans considered elsewhere as well), I've been trying to advocate in favour of a non-toxic alternative, such as concentrated vinegar. However, the landscaper has indicated that for deep-rooted weeds and small tree saplings (our most common types of weeds), there is no real effective alternative to Roundup, and that in fact Roundup is not as bad as it is sometimes made out to be. I'm having trouble understanding this, and also having trouble seeing how there could be no effective alternative to it. Afterall, what would they use in the Netherlands? Any suggestions that anyone might have as to environmentally- and health-friendly alternatives to Roundup that would be effective on deep-rooted weeds and small tree saplings, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 
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Hi there, I live in a condo building and the landscaper we've hired has proposed using Roundup in our courtyard area to deal with weeds. Concerned about the fact that Roundup has been deemed a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization (and banned in the Netherlands, with bans considered elsewhere as well), I've been trying to advocate in favour of a non-toxic alternative, such as concentrated vinegar. However, the landscaper has indicated that for deep-rooted weeds and small tree saplings (our most common types of weeds), there is no real effective alternative to Roundup, and that in fact Roundup is not as bad as it is sometimes made out to be. I'm having trouble understanding this, and also having trouble seeing how there could be no effective alternative to it. Afterall, what would they use in the Netherlands? Any suggestions that anyone might have as to environmentally- and health-friendly alternatives to Roundup that would be effective on deep-rooted weeds and small tree saplings, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Basically what your landscaper said is sadly true. Orange oil and vinegar do kill the tops of weeds and will eventually kill the roots too after repeated applications. Roundup, as much as I hate chemicals, is the only other remedy as far as I know. If it dries before anyone or anything touching it it is not as bad, but, still bad.
 
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Basically what your landscaper said is sadly true. Orange oil and vinegar do kill the tops of weeds and will eventually kill the roots too after repeated applications. Roundup, as much as I hate chemicals, is the only other remedy as far as I know. If it dries before anyone or anything touching it it is not as bad, but, still bad.

Thanks very much for getting back to me so quickly and for sharing your expertise on this.
 
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Anything ('cides) that kill cells is potentially harmful. It is just a matter of degree.
 
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I fear Chuck is right. Earlier this summer I decided to eliminate the grape ivy along one side of my house...it was aggressive and becoming unsightly. Digging up the roots was not an option as they were tough and thick, and growing into the concrete sill.

I did use RoundUp, the one for killing stumps and tree roots. Since then regular weeds and grass has come back nice and healthy but the ivy roots are totally dead. I don't think RoundUp has a long-lasting residual effect on soil if that's any consolation.
 
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I fear Chuck is right. Earlier this summer I decided to eliminate the grape ivy along one side of my house...it was aggressive and becoming unsightly. Digging up the roots was not an option as they were tough and thick, and growing into the concrete sill.

I did use RoundUp, the one for killing stumps and tree roots. Since then regular weeds and grass has come back nice and healthy but the ivy roots are totally dead. I don't think RoundUp has a long-lasting residual effect on soil if that's any consolation.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Durgan and Beth_B!
 
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I know this is late but just for next time- you might be able to think outside the box a little and get your courtyard set up so that roundup is uneeded.

1. If you have plants in the courtyard, research some allelopathic plants in your area- those are plants that have substances they release (some from roots, leaves, or other) that kill off competetive plants. Plant those instead. So basically, they kill off the plants you don't want for you without other chemicals added. This tends to work better for large plants/trees in my experience.

2. Look at plants, like wild flowers, you might like that a) reseed easily and b) are competitive. Grow them in the areas where weeds sprout and let them reseed every year, just pulling up the non flowers for the first couple of years. Eventually you will have a patch that out competes most weeds that try to grow there.

3. Look up what birds or critters in your area predate on the seedlings or seeds of the weeds that keep growing. Plants things that are homes or shelter or more food for them, in the courtyard. Then the birds take care of a lot of your weeds for you. :)

Not perfect, of course, but it can help.
 

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