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Salt as a weed killer

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by desert rose gardening, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. desert rose gardening

    desert rose gardening LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 387

    I saw this question and was hoping to get a answer, as usual I got a partial answer and 5 pages of BS and wasted reading. Could someone that actually knows about give me a ratio of how much salt you would put in a gallon of water on average please? Thanks
  2. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 327

    I'll start the 5 pages of more BS. Every plant has a salt tolerance (and I'm assuming you're talking about table salt, sodium chloride). The answer to your question really depends on what plant and how you will apply it. And, interestingly, I am not aware of anyone in the organic community relying on salt to kill plants. The organic gardeners are much more interested in feeding the soil biology and not destroying it with salt.

    If you do decide to go ahead and kill your plants with salt and later want to reclaim that land, you should send a soil sample to K Chandler at Texas Plant and Soil Lab where they sort of have a little niche going in reclaiming land lost to salt buildup. K knows more about that topic than anyone I've ever met. I can summarize his general remedy: balance the sodium with calcium and magnesium salts. What the balancing amounts are depends on the existing salt levels for all three.
  3. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,969

    Again, as a commercial, licensed applicator, you cannot use any items as pesticides unless they are so labeled. The only exception that I know of is CGM used as a pre-emergent weed control - EPA exempted CGM from labeling, and allows it to be called an organic herbicide.

    So pick up your salt package, and read the label. If it is labeled as a herbicide, then just follow the directions on the label. If it is not, just forget about using it as a herbicide.

    Sorry if some take this as negative, but that is the legal structure we are supposed to operate under. It is unfortunate that this forum is used as an emotional stage, on both poles of the organic vs. chemical topic. Most threads here would do much better on some organic bulletin board. I have mostly given up participation here, because I was tremendously let down by the lack of commercial comments here. I have really not seen one thread that discusses the procedures for a legitimate commercial applicator to go about establishing and running an organic lawn care business. While there are a lot of interesting suggestions here, I have not seen many that can be used legally by a commercial applicator in most states.
  4. woodycrest

    woodycrest LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 435

    '' I have mostly given up participation here, because I was tremendously let down by the lack of commercial comments here. I have really not seen one thread that discusses the procedures for a legitimate commercial applicator to go about establishing and running an organic lawn care business.''

    Thats because the discussions always end up as synthetic vs organic argument, the discussions inevitably turn to arguments.
    THis is an organic lawn care forum ,not a synthetic vs organic debate forum.
    If we could get past the 'emotional stage , maybe we could spend more time discussing logistics.

    First step is to think simple!
  5. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 327

    I got the impression that the person asking the question was a home gardener and not a professional. That's how I replied. A professional would have known how to use a product if it was labeled as a herbicide. As far as I know, there are salts used as herbicides but not table salt. And also, as far as I know, the salinity is not the herbicidal factor in the salty herbicides.

    I think this board has a chance to regroup and make some progress now. I'll start a new thread to explain.
  6. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,476

    Let me preface my post with the admission I work for a large Green Industry supplier. Unlike the "fertilizer & Pesticide" board, this forums members probably don't know who I am & I don't want to mislead anyone.

    Perhaps it would be wise to post a sticky on this board with all or most of the organically acceptable legally registered herbicides that are available for professional use. Table salt is of course, not legal for a commercial applicator to use. Since this is a message board designed for professionals, then all recommendations should be offered under this pretense.

    "Professionals Growing Together" is the banner proclamation.

    There is no shortage of "Garden-Web-Forums" for organics DIYs to get answers from. If this forum is to be viable, then legal solutions for professionals should be the only goal.

    I spent 2 years on the Westchester County Environmental/Pesticide Advisory Board. Similar to this forums dilemma, the board would not accept any of the commercially available "soft herbicides" such as Scythe & instead would only endorse the Ready To Use products found in retail garden centers.

    These are often made from the same potassium salts of fatty acids to which occasionally is added Acetic Acid (vinegar).

    The only reason these materials passed the bar was the very low LD/LC-50 of the bottled material which is already diluted to end-use concentration. Of course the commercially available Scythe was actually much LESS toxic once diluted per the label. But various board members had more concern with "the sort of businesses that sell & use Scythe", than the real world viability of legally & profitably using "low impact" herbicides. How nice! Public funding to endorse a commercial interest! No conflict here.

    Ironically, if a vinegar based concentrate is compared to Scythe, the label & MSDS clearly indicate a greater danger to the end-user. Acetic acid is extremely damaging to the eyes & therefore is labeled as such. Indeed it is even more corrosive than 2,4-d which carries a Danger label for this reason.

    Here is the greatest dilemma that I see for legal Organic commercial applicators:

    I just googled into a "natural herbicide" & low & behold, it is the same one endorsed by the board I used to sit on.

    This Burnout-2 RTU herbicide is sold in a 48 oz bottle for $28.00 prior to shipping. Thus $.58 per ounce. The material is applied at 213 oz per 1000 sq ft (per the label). Therefore the commercial applicator cost = $124.25 per 1000 sq ft or $5412.33 per acre.

    Scythe on the other hand when applied at 6 oz/M has a contractor cost of about $2.11 per 1000 sq ft or $91.88 per acre.

    I'll wager a guess that "Burnout-2" can be had cheaper than the source I just took 10 seconds to discover. But perhaps this is the sort of constructive effort that this forums members ought to be performing rather than justifying the illegal (commercial) use of table salt.

  7. Norm Al

    Norm Al LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,227

    the basic make up of roundup is:

    4 pounds of salt
    5 pounds of vinegar
    1 gallon of water
    3 ounces of soap

    the patent is off of roundup now so have fun everybody else has a roundup knock off on the shelf!
  8. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,476

    You wouldn't have needed to wait for the patent to expire since this isn't how RoundUp is made. But the fact remains, to apply this concoction for hire requires that it be registered. Is it?
  9. Norm Al

    Norm Al LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,227

    that is the "basic" foundation for glyphosate!

    and yes to sell it or apply it you would need a label approved by your state!
  10. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,476

    There are plenty of off-patent versions of Glyphosate in the market now but let's just look at Monsanto.

    Glyphosate is made from N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine & isopropylamine salt which actually means it is an organo-phosphate. But it is not a cholinestrase inhibitor.

    The isopropryl amine & ammonium salts of glyphosate translocate in targeted plants. Chloride salts aren't very good at this.

    Monsanto's Roundup Pro contains the surfactant polyethoxylated tallowamine surfactant (POEA), isopropylamine, and water.

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