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How to Use Roundup Safely

garden weeding image by MichMac from

U.S. farmlands and home landscapes use more than 100 million pounds of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, annually, according to Environmental Protection Agency data as of 2009. Roundup is a nonselective herbicide that will kill any type of vegetation, so caution is necessary when applying the herbicide. Originally developed in the 1970s for the agricultural industry, the herbicide controls large-scale weed problems. Roundup does not have long-term effects to the soil, and gardeners should wait up to one week before removing treated weeds, allowing the herbicide to kill the roots.

Select the most convenient type of Roundup for your use. Roundup comes in a concentrate requiring mixing in a pump-up sprayer, or pre-mixed in its own disposable sprayer. If mixing concentrate, designate a sprayer specifically for herbicide use only.

Wait to spray Roundup on a day that is sunny, dry and with no wind. The herbicide will dry on the vegetation faster and it will be less likely to blow to areas where the herbicide treatment is unwanted. Use safety goggles. If it rains before the product sits for six hours, reapplication is required.

Wear gloves to keep the Roundup from accidentally getting on your skin as you mix and apply it.

Mix only the amount of Roundup you will need. This will alleviate the requirements to store the unused portion in an area away from children or pet activity. The pre-mixed Roundup solution will remain effective for three to four weeks.

Mix the solution according to the instructions on the package. Mixing a stronger solution will not kill the unwanted weeds any faster.

Test the sprayer’s spray width on a concrete surface where there is no vegetation for it to harm. Adjust the spray nozzle tip to widen or narrow the spray path so it will treat the selected vegetation and not accidentally overspray onto unwanted areas in the landscape.

Place a sheet of plastic or cardboard between the targeted weeds and the plants you do not want sprayed, if spraying the Roundup in an area where the plants and weeds grow closely together.

Wash out the sprayer with water to remove the herbicide. Fill the sprayer with a small amount of clean water, pump it up and spray the water out on a concrete surface to remove the Roundup from the sprayer.

Wash your hands with soapy water after you have applied the Roundup.


Keep children and pets off treated areas until the product has fully dried.

Studies suggest the inert ingredient POEA found in Roundup might cause problems in pregnant women.

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