Top gardeners have a dirty little secret. Many of them will tell you that they don’t use herbicides. They then add in a low voice, “Of course, I used Roundup to get rid of the perennial weeds first.”
On the contrary, I am proud to use glyphosate. Here are ten reasons why.
1 As a weedkiller, it’s safe to use and does no harm to wildlife.
2 It leaves no residues in the ground.
3 It is translocated in plants and ‘reaches the parts others can’t reach’. It does not just kill the top.
4 When used to clear weedy ground, all the organic matter and nutrients in the dead weeds go back into the ground. There is no wastage of organic material by burning or dumping in the dreaded wheelie bin. (Believe me, you would be horrified where it actually goes!)
5 Although it will take a year and more to clear a weedy plot, the actual work you do is minimal.
6 Often the soil structure of a weedy new plot has benefited by years of plant growth. Why destroy this structure by digging?
7 Gardeners who have omitted to eliminate perennial weeds such as couch, ground elder and bindweed, continue forking it out for ever more.
8 Where there are no perennial weeds, weed control is so easy.
9 It facilitates minimum cultivation systems, which preserve soil organic matter, worms and soil life.
10 When used to enable zero cultivation, its effects become more interesting. You might not like the liverwort and moss, but as a habitat for wildlife at the bottom of the food chain, they are superb.
An added bonus for me - liverwort and pearlwort stabilise the walls of my ponds. Here, an orchid has been able to self seed in my liverwort encrusted soil.
And I have not even mentioned preserving the world’s organic matter or global warming.
I have recently been reading a republished book, The Living Soil, written by that much loved pioneer of organic farming, Lady Eve Balfour. I think that, if glyphosate had existed in her time, she would have embraced it.