Herbicides are substances that will kill plants or weeds by blocking photosynthesis or inhibiting new growth. Some herbicides are selective and will only destroy weeds, while leaving the desired plant behind. Other herbicides will destroy everything. They are widely used in turf and in agriculture and account for nearly 75 percent of all pesticides used. Herbicides are generally chemicals and can have a negative impact on the environment.
Acetochlor is a common ingredient that can be found in many commercial herbicides. It is a restricted herbicide because of its high toxicity. Any product that contains acetochlor must display the word danger on the container. Skin exposure to acetochlor can cause severe irritation and consumption can cause death. It is used to control most grasses as well as crops such as potato, cabbage, corn, citrus and legumes. Like many herbicides, acetochlor is slightly corrosive and should not be stored in metal containers. Trade names include Harness, Surpass, Winner and Trophy.
Benzfendizone methyl is a urea compound that is commonly used as an herbicide to control weeds when growing rice. Urea compounds have been known to cause eye irritation, coughing and shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, headache and confusion. It is a selective herbicide that inhibits photosynthesis in weeds.
Borax is effective in controlling creeping ivy. Borax contains small amounts of boron, which helps aid in sugar transportation in plants. However, it has a toxic effect on ivy. This herbicide can be used around other plants because it is selective but must be controlled or it can cause yellowing. To use borax as an herbicide, dissolve 10 oz. of Borax detergent in 4 oz. of warm water. After the borax has dissolved, dilute it with 2 1/2 gallons of water. This solution will treat a 1,000 square foot area of Ivy. Borax can cause skin irritation, shortness of breath and nausea.
Sulfentrazone is a chemical that is used as an herbicide and goes by the trade name of Authority. It is most commonly used as a ground application to treat weeds in crops such as soybeans. Products containing this chemical should display the word caution. With controlled usage, it shows no toxicity to wildlife or humans. There is little damage to soil or water but it can be toxic to marine life.