Hostas are popular among homeowners because of their attractive foliage and low-maintenance nature. However, regardless of what type of plants you have, you know that weeds grow anywhere. Most people hate pulling weeds because they grow back as fast as you pull them. So many people turn to Roundup and other chemical products to help them kill weeds. So does Roundup kill Hostas?
Older formulations of Roundup consist of 41% glyphosate, which is toxic to many plants. It prevents plants from producing essential proteins for growth. Bayer AG, the maker of Roundup, is removing glyphosate from residential lawn and garden Roundup products. So, whether or not the newer formulations will work as weed removal is unclear.
Gardeners must understand the potential impact that Roundup can have on Hostas and other plants. We’ll also look at alternative methods for removing weeds without exposing your plants or yourself to toxic products.
But first, let’s take a closer look at Roundup.
What Is Roundup?
Roundup is a popular herbicide used by homeowners, professionals, and companies to help control broadleaf weeds and grasses. People use it because it eliminates weeds and unwanted plants without a lot of effort on your part.
That said, Roundup contains a toxic ingredient, glyphosate, which is toxic to plants, including hostas. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum, non-selective herbicide that can potentially harm any plant it comes into contact with, including hostas.
When sprayed near the plant, the poison is absorbed through its leaves and roots, resulting in it to wither and die.
The Danger Of Using Roundup On Hostas
As mentioned, Roundup is not good for plants. If you accidentally spray your Hostas, it will likely kill them. To use Roundup on the weeds in your hosta bed, try spot-treating the weeds individually.
Spot treat the weeds that are further away from your hostas. Exercise caution and avoid treating the weeds on windy days, as it can drift to your plants.
So while we all hate weeds, it’s essential to use alternative methods to prevent the weeds from overtaking your garden.
Let’s look at some of them.
Organic Herbicides and Soaps
These products contain natural ingredients approved by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) for use in organic production.
However, some organic herbicides can still harm Hostas. For example, vinegar-based herbicides such as Horticultural Vinegar contain 20-30% of acetic acid, which can kill hostas.
When buying chemicals to use to eliminate weeds, always read the ingredients. If you’re not sure whether the product will kill your hostas, avoid using it.
Corn Gluten Meal
This is an organic compound that, when used correctly, can prevent grass and broadleaf weeds from growing in gardens.
When applied to the soil, it inhibits the growth of the weeds’ roots. That said, it doesn’t control existing weeds. Instead, it works for the prevention of new weeds.
Some people have successfully used household vinegar, salt, and dish soap to kill weeds. Household vinegar contains only 5% acetic acid, which isn’t strong enough to kill weeds.
Mix 1 gallon (3.8L) of distilled white vinegar with one cup of table salt and one tablespoon of dish soap in a garden sprayer. Stir or shake until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
Spray the mixture directly onto the weeds. Keep reapplying until you get the results you want. Note this method won’t be as effective as using horticulture vinegar.
In addition to chemical methods, you can use physical methods to make sure you don’t harm the plants.
Pull Them By Hand
The safest method to use is to pull the weeds by hand. Grab a pair of gardening to avoid thorns and other sharp objects. Bend down and grasp the base of the weed, then pull it up towards you, making sure to remove the entire root system.
If the ground is too hard, use a hand trowel to help loosen the soil around the weeds. Once the weed is removed, throw it in a trash can or compost bin.
Using a weed whacker to remove the weeds can be tricky because the string can damage your plants. Approach the weeds from the side and avoid getting too close to the plants.
It’s best to use a weed whacker for the weeds growing further away from the plants. Then you can remove the closer ones by hand.
A flame weeder is a torch or wand that uses extreme heat up to 2,000 degrees to kill weeds. This method does not use any harmful chemicals. It can be dangerous, so make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Preventive Measures Against Future Weed Infestation
After removing the weeds from your Hosta bed, it’s essential to take preventative measures to prevent them from returning. Plus, it’s more cost-effective and easier to prevent weed infestation.
Here are some tips to help you out.
Applying a layer of mulch around the surface area of plants can suppress weeds from growing. The mulch blocks the soil from sunlight which prevents weeds from germinating.
That said, not all types of mulch help prevent weeds. When choosing mulch for weed prevention, opt for organic mulches such as; straw, bark, and wood chips.
The least cost-effective method is to regularly inspect the Hosta bed and remove the weeds as soon as you see them. This will prevent the weeds from spreading and becoming an infestation.
I’ve used landscape fabric to help me control weeds. It is a porous material that prevents air and water from reaching the soil. Place the fabric directly on top of the soil or under mulch in areas where weeds are a persistent problem.
You’ll notice a considerable difference. However, over time the outside elements will break down the fabric, and it will eventually stop working.
When you notice the weeds growing through the fabric, it’s time to change it out.
Space Between Plants
Weeds are opportunistic plants that adapt to any environment, especially if they have the space to grow. Try leaving as little space between your plants to minimize the chances of weeds.
This method doesn’t always work because some types of weeds, such as clover, dandelions, and other weeds, grow anywhere.
Identifying The Weeds In Your Garden
Before permanently eliminating the weeds in your garden, you must know which type you’re dealing with. Unfortunately, there are several types of weeds that grow in gardens, plant beds, and yards.
Let’s look at some of the different types you may be dealing with.
- Annual weeds: These weeds complete their life cycle in a single season. Examples include chickweed, crabgrass, and pigweed. They reproduce by seed, so it’s crucial to remove them before they set seed.
- Perennial weeds: Like perennial plants, these weeds return year after year. They can spread through seeds as well as underground rhizomes or roots. Examples include dandelions, bindweed, and horsetail.
- Grassy weeds: These weeds resemble lawn grass and can be tricky to control. Examples include crabgrass, quackgrass, and nutsedge. Be cautious when using herbicides, as they can harm your lawn.
Once you know which types of weed infestation you’re dealing with, you can decide which treatment works best for you. Some weeds, such as chickweed, are invasive and hard to control.
When dealing with invasive weeds, you may have to use a combination of herbicides, physical removal, and regular monitoring to remove them as soon as you notice them.
Spot treatments can effectively control weeds with shallow root systems, such as clover or plantain.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Herbicides Are Safe To Use Near Hostas?
Herbicides designed explicitly for grass, like Ornamec, can be safe when applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember that these herbicides will target grass-type plants and may not eliminate broadleaf weeds.
Roundup will kill hostas when it comes into direct contact with it. The best way to get rid of weeds is to spot-treat the weeds further away from the plants.
Remember to shield your hostas during the spraying process – a cardboard box placed over each plant should help prevent damage.
Pulling weeds by hand is the best way to control them in a hosta bed. Then maintain the bed regularly to prevent the weeds from growing back.