We all know that weeds can be a nuisance - they create many problems for other plants, adding unwanted competition for space, sunlight and food, as well as causing potential tripping and safety hazards particularly in public spaces.
There are lots of herbicides and chemicals on the market to kill weeds, including Pelargonic acid. However, many weed control solutions can cause harm to humans, animals, and the planet.
Many people have switched to spraying with Pelargonic acid as they believe it to be a more eco-friendly method of weed control. Unfortunately that’s not quite right - and Pelargonic acid isn’t actually that effective as a means of permanent weed removal.
What is pelargonic acid?
For those unfamiliar with Pelargonic acid it is a non-synthetic herbicide also known as Nonanoic acid.
Pelargonic acid is a herbicide used to curb the growth of weeds outdoors and indoors. As a result, it is a common ingredient in many weed-killing sprays on the market. It occurs frequently in nature, particularly in geraniums and pelargoniums and is a long-chain fatty acid. Pelargonium is a genus of flowering plants and this is where the name Pelargonic acid came from.
For the most part it has been deemed safe to use around people and animals. However, it is a herbicide, and research has suggested herbicides could pose threats to nature and wildlife. When Pelargonic acid is added to products with other more harmful ingredients this can create more problems for the surrounding environment where spraying.
Will pelargonic acid kill weeds?
Pelargonic acid attacks weeds by destroying the cell walls of the weeds leaves. Essentially, this causes the cells to quickly dry out and lose their structure. Under normal conditions, results can be noticed one day after the treatment. However, It’s definitely not the most effective weed control option.
When using pelargonic acid to kill weeds, only the green parts of the plant are impacted, and much of the stem and root structure of the plant remains unaffected. For that reason it is believed to be a subpar means of weed control when compared to glyphosate, other chemical-heavy weed killers, and our eco-friendly weed control solution Foamstream.
A recent independent study carried out by the University of Athens proved that Foamstream, the hot-foam based weed control solution developed by Weedingtech, performed as well as or better than many other methods of weed control including both Glyphosate and Pelargonic acid based treatments.
We’ve seen first hand that our Foamstream weed removal option is by far the best, most environmentally friendly way of controlling weed vegetation.
What are the downsides of using Pelargonic acid on weeds?
As well as the obvious problem that pelargonic acid doesn’t get to the plant stem and roots, meaning the weeds may survive and recover from the treatment received, there are some other concerns around the way pelargonic acid is sometimes mixed with other chemicals in commercial weed killers.
Many weed killers contain chemicals that are particularly harmful to humans if ingested. It is unclear what the benefit of combining glyphosate and pelargonic acid is, which many professional weed killers on the market do.
Looking at glyphosate specifically, a paper on the impact of glyphosate on human health has reported that it could increase the risk of health concerns such as celiac disease, endocrine disruption, leaky-gut syndrome, and even cancer. These types of products are harmful to our health and pose severe threats to wildlife.
Scientists have also said these products could alter wildlife and organisms at the base of the food chain. A 2019 article exploring the impact of glyphosate-based herbicides on wildlife suggests that if this ingredient is present, it can impact aquatic creatures’ metabolism, reproduction, and growth and alter essential gut bacteria of animals such as bees.
As we know, bees are significant and are responsible for a third of the food on our plates. One study which examined the resilience of freshwater ecosystems contaminated by herbicides claimed some of these glyphosate-based products could trigger biodiversity loss. This ultimately makes ecosystems more vulnerable to climate change and pollution.
Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has suggested exposure to herbicides could have effects on aquatic life due to impacting food availability and modifying habitat. Given all this information, it is vital to consider a natural solution that will not harm people, animals, or the planet.
How to manage weeds without harming the planet
Hopefully now you are realising that managing and controlling weeds without harming the environment is critical if we want to avert the huge biodiversity crash we’re currently heading towards. Pelargonic acid can control weeds to a certain degree, but this comes with a huge environmental cost. There are many known ways to manage weeds that are not only more effective, but which also have less of an environmental impact.
Many of these more manual methods have their own limitations. Some of these methods include strimming or weed whacking, manual weeding, burning, and using hot water. Manual weeding, in particular, is very time-consuming and costly. When considering other less harmful methods, time and cost still need to come into play.
The most effective and natural solution when it comes to controlling weeds is opting for herbicide-free products like Foamstream. Our Foamstream weed control solution does not contain any herbicides and allows you to manage unwanted vegetation efficiently, safely, and cost-effectively while not compromising the planet.
Foamstream works by smothering a hot biodegradable foam over the plants, killing them instantly with the hot water that is insulated by a completely natural foam. It’s safe for the environment and for people that are using the machine. It’s the perfect weed control solution for councils, parks, utility companies and schools.
Summary - is pelargonic acid good for weed removal?
Traditional weed killers can have huge implications for human and animal health. Not to mention, releasing these toxic chemicals can also contribute significantly to climate change. There is a way to kill weeds and foster more vibrant outdoor spaces without putting the planet and all living on it at risk.
Foamstream is the perfect choice for communities looking for a greener solution that saves money and time without compromising on the effectiveness at removing weeds. Whether you are a company, a gardening enthusiast, or a local city council, we must curb our use of herbicides.
Working in collaboration with Weedingtech, we can set you up quickly and efficiently so you can control weeds seamlessly. Contact us today if you are interested in learning more about our eco-friendly weed management technology. We can speak with you more about our product and also organise a demo.