So, do you need to destroy weeds in your garden or lawn? You carefully read the label and apply the products according to the instructions. Most herbicides need at least a few days to destroy the unwanted vegetation completely.
But how much time is required to keep people and pets off the lawn after using a weed killer? The majority of manufacturers do not place such information on the labels. In fact, experienced gardeners recommend keeping small children and pets away from the grass affected by a weed killer for 24 hours, at least. Experts insist that different herbicides act in a different way, so this period may change drastically. Anyway, you ought to consider a few things before letting your kids or pets on the lawn.
The effects of herbicides on lawns and gardens
Any herbicide is applied to the unwanted vegetation by spraying or spreading. Once it reaches the plant’s leaves, it penetrates its cells and reaches the root system. Such herbicides kill the plant from the root. These substances are called soil herbicides because the destruction of the plant comes from the inside. This type of herbicide has proven its worth in the fight against perennial weeds which root’s system is significantly developed.
There are also contact herbicides. They only affect the green part of the plant. This type of herbicide does not fight the root system. The benefits of this type of herbicide are not that obvious.
Possible dangers of herbicides
Weed killers are real miracle preparations, which significantly help with weed control. But the use of herbicides in many people is a cause for concern. After all, it provides a chemical effect. As a rule, most herbicides contain chemical substances that do not hurt a human body or animals.
But there are also very dangerous herbicides! The proper concentration is everything at this point. Such products are stored in the ground for a short time, about a few weeks. At the end of that time, they are completely decomposed. But, not according to instructions, herbicides in large quantities in the ground can be stored for a long time. That is why you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using such herbicides.
While running in the garden, pets and kids are often at risk due to the use of chemical fertilizers and herbicides. Our job is to keep pets and small children safe. For instance, the isolation of pets while the weed is applied and the careful monitoring of what they eat outside can help. Make sure that affected weeds won’t become the food of pets and wild animals. Such accidents won’t work out well.
There are two ways to keep a dog off the grass after a weed killer: never let your pet out for walks in an unsafe place or use the products that are safe for animals and small children.
The most dangerous components of herbicides for pets:
- Dimethylamine Salt;
- Methyl-4 Chlorophenoxyacetic Acid;
- Glyphosate is a very fast-acting contact herbicide. If pets come in contact with glyphosate, they may stomach upset, drool, become sleepy, lose their appetite;
- Diquat Dibromide is one more contact herbicide. This chemical is extremely dangerous to pets because it may cause cataracts in rats and dogs. Also, it may cause developmental effects in rabbits and rats;
Some minor ingredients in combination with glyphosate increase its toxicity multiple times. Of course, the tests for potential dangers of this herbicide have been conducted only on rats, but their results are not encouraging. In particular, animals exposed to the herbicides like Roundup have problems with reproducing a healthy offspring. There have been cases where traces of this particular weed killer in the soil have been found even a year after cultivation.
How long to keep dogs and kids off the grass after weed killers?
If you have no other choice but to apply chemical herbicides, then do make sure to keep your dog off the grass after a weed killer until the dusts from applying have settled. Chemical particles usually stick to the plants for 24 hours at least. So it is better to limit your pet’s or kid’s activity at least 24-30 hours after applying a herbicide.
For instance, Roundup is totally safe for people and pets once it’s dried completely. But wet Roundup resides on grass and leaves may do a lot of harm to dogs, cats, and small children.
How fast do herbicides completely decompose?
Since glyphosate-based herbicides, such as Roundup, don’t affect seeds, lawn grass or vegetable crops can be sown immediately after destroying the weeds.
The decomposition of herbicides in the soil to safe compounds occurs due to the natural soil microorganisms. To accelerate their decomposition, it is possible to use special microbiological preparations that will help to grow more microorganisms. In cold and thin soil it may take up to six months to neutralize the effects of herbicides completely, but on the cultivated warmed soil the weed killer loses its activity after 3-4 weeks (follow the instructions).
Safety precautions when working with chemical herbicides:
- Use gloves;
- Use a respirator;
- Do not work against the wind;
- If herbicides get on yours, your pet’s or kid’s body, rinse the affected areas thoroughly with water;
- Never apply chemical products for weed control in flower beds, vegetable gardens or ornamental plants. Never use such herbicides around flowers, fruits or veggies;
Pet-friendly herbicides that can effectively kill weeds
An alternative to potential herbicides that may keep dogs on grass even after applying a weed killer are natural DIY remedies. They are not that effective compared to the chemical products, but much safer. These DIY solutions can help to cope with weeds:
- Boiling water. If you have areas that need to be massively cleaned of weeds, try boiling water. This method is good for cleaning yards, paths and sidewalks. Also, it is also suitable for destroying overgrown plants that you do not need. Spray such weeds with boiling water and they will be finally destroyed. But be careful, boiling water kills all affected plants, not just weeds;
- Vinegar works well as a natural herbicide and it is harmless to animals and people. All you have to do is spray it on the plants that need to be destroyed. For some strong weeds, you’ll ought to apply vinegar several times;
- Salt. In small doses, it acts as a fertilizer, but in large doses it works as a herbicide. If you have the lawn or garden areas that you want to clean from some weeds, spread the salt. But, it will make the soil unsuitable for other plants to grow;
- Sugar is also a pet-friendly herbicide. When used, it makes the soil unsuitable for weed growth for a short time. Its use is very convenient for the destruction of large weeds, growing trees and shrubs that are difficult to pull out. Simply pour in a strong sugar solution of the shoots that you want to destroy. To protect the area from pests, mix sugar with the equal parts of chili pepper. The pepper will hold back any possible pests;
- Cornmeal. Sometimes the most effective herbicides are those that stop the unwanted weeds before they appear. Cornmeal contains the chemicals that prevent weed seeds from germinating. Sprinkle cornmeal on the areas where you want to stop the weeds from growing;
Natural weed killers can be safely combined. To achieve the maximum effect, simply mix them. If the mixture is liquid and you use a sprayer, you may add some soap or detergent.
The drying time of herbicides depends on their contents and weather conditions. Double check the affected area – it must be completely dry before letting dogs on grass after a weed killer. If your pets prefer eating the plants, never use chemical herbicides. Pets may become sick. If possible, use all-natural remedies for destroying the unwanted plants.