The Q&A Archives: roundup residuals

Question: I am a technical advisor for a communitygarden locted at an elementary school. I want to use round up to kill grass before we plow a 30 X 90 vegetable garden. How dangerous is it? what kind of residuals are left in the soil?
I cannot use this product if it is dangerous, I can spray on a week end. The garden is not near the childrens play area. Is there any other product that I can use that is sa

Answer: The active ingredient in Round Up is glyphosate. It degrades in the presence of sunlight and fresh air and it does not translocate in the soil but does travel down to the roots of the weeds to kill them off. Glyphosate can be used in the garden prior to planting several garden vegetables. After 7 days, the seeds, rooted cuttings, or transplants of many garden vegetables can be planted. The biggest exception is tomatoes. Tomato transplants cannot be planted for 30 days; however, seeds may be planted 7 days after the use of glyphosate. The label lists the plants and proper waiting intervals for planting so be sure to read and following the label directions. Other than using glyphosate, digging the weeds is an option. Since you are going to plow the soil anyway, you can rake out the weeds, plant your garden and then lay a thick mulch over the bare soil to help suppress weeds. I've used several thicknesses of newspapers over the soil and topped it with straw or shredded bark. As long as the mulch is thick enough to keep sunlight from reaching the soil surface, new weed seeds will not germinate. Best wishes with your new garden!

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