Weed killers are almost beyond useful for how effective they can be, but it wouldn’t be right to promote their benefits without at least highlighting a few key safety issues as well. After all they are powerful chemicals, and the fact they can so readily kill plant life means that they need to be treated with respect.
Weed killers have the potential to have an effect on not just weeds, but also the wider environment, this includes other plants, animals, and you and your family. It’s worth therefore spending a few minutes and a little bit of money, understanding and developing a strategy to operate as safely as possible.
As with any product you buy, your first port of call should always be to refer closely to the manufacturers instructions. You should at the very least refer closely to these, but in addition the following should also be considered, particularly when working with large quantities of weed killer:
- When mixing up chemicals you should wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes safety googles (not glasses) that will prevent any material from splashing into your eyes, wellies or safety shoes, and strong, non porous gloves such as those made from nitrile rubber, so that no chemicals are able to make contact with your skin
- When applying chemicals the same rules apply in terms of PPE, with the addition of a full HAZMAT suit if you are using a lot of chemical sprays regularly.
The Safety of Others
Once you’re clear on how to apply the chemicals safely and in accordance with manufacturer instructions, you should then consider how to protect other wildlife as you do so. The key points to remember here are:
- Do not spray ground where any pets or livestock are contained
- Only spray when the weather is calm. Weed killer being blown in the wind is best avoided
- Spray no closer than 1 metre from bodies of water such as ponds or streams to avoid contamination
- Keep all children and pets off the lawn until the chemicals have dried fully
- If you have applied weed killer across the whole lawn you should avoid composting the trimmings from the subsequent cut