Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is the world’s most used herbicide. A total of over 1.4 billion pounds of glyphosate are applied per year. But since this weed killer has been classified as a possible cancer-causing agent (carcinogen) here are the glyphosate alternatives you can use to kill weeds:
5 Best Glyphosate Alternative Weed Killers
Organic weed killers would be a straight alternative for Roundup because they are safe (non-toxic) and non-carcinogenic. Herbicides with Diquat and ammonium nonanoate are also great alternatives.
Here’s a review of the top 5 glyphosate alternatives:
1. Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer
- Non-toxic alternative to glyphosate
- Non-selective herbicide for grassy + broadleaf weeds
- OMRI certified as a safe herbicide to humans + pets.
- Kills even stubborn weeds like crabgrass.
The acetic acid in vinegar makes it highly potent in killing weeds. The naturally occurring acid will dry out weeds in the lawn, driveways and garden and provide a powerful weed control solution.
When I mixed it with salt, its efficacy really improved in controlling weeds almost permanently in pavers and driveways.
I’ve done separate tests for killing weeds with salt and the results were great. Vinegar organic weed killer is also effective as an organic alternative to roundup weed killer.
List of weeds it vinegar organic weed killer controls: Oxalis, Quackgrass, Crabgrass, Dandelions, Cloverweed, Chickweed and just about any other weed in the lawn and garden, making it a great alternative to glyphosate.
On the precaution side, just like Roundup, 20% vinegar weed killer concentrate will dessicate any plant it comes in contact with. You should be careful how you apply it in your garden not to damage desirable plants.
2. Burnout II Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate
- Effective non-selective herbicide for grassy + broadleaf weeds.
- Fast-acting herbicide (kills weeds within hours)
- Non-toxic alternative to glyphosate (Roundup)
Burnout II is also a great option you can use instead of Roundup. It contains all the natural ingredients that kill weeds effectively. Clove oil and sodium lauryl sulfate make up 20% of this formulation as the active ingredients.
Brurnout II is effective in controlling weeds including Ragweed, Bluegrass, Quack grass, Chickweed, Oxalis, Foxtail, Dandelion, Plantain, etc.
BurnOut Weed & Grass Killer is a fast-acting herbicide. Contact with foliage will result usually results in rapid plant destruction due to the desiccation of plant cell tissue.
An application of Burnout Weed Killer will result in top growth reduction in both perennial weeds and grasses.
3. Nature’s Avenger Organic Weed Killer Concentrate
- Non-toxic herbicide (does not cause cancer).
- Does not stain concrete and pavers.
- Very effective natural non-selective weed killer.
- Fast-acting weed killer (see results in 2 hours).
Avenger is a great alternative you can use instead of Roundup. The active ingredient in this herbicide is citrus oil extracted from oranges. This makes it a non-toxic option to glyphosate herbicides.
Avenger Organic Weed Killer concentrate is a non-selective contact weed killer that is very effective at killing broadleaf and grassy weeds including crabgrass, dandelions, creeping charlie weed, nutsedge, etc.
How does Avenger kill grassy and broadleaf weeds so effectively? It naturally strips away the waxy plant cuticle, causing it to dehydrate and die.
Since we are shopping for weed killers that are safe (non-carcinogenic) for humans and pets, you’ll find this a great choice for your lawn and garden.
4. Finale Herbicide 2.5 gallon 11.33% glufosinate-ammonium
- Kills weeds fast – results in 1 to 4 days.
- No regrowth after weeds are dead.
- Kills only what you spray it on.
- Low soil residual effect.
- You can seed or transplant within hours of application.
- Glufosinate ammonium active ingredient
Weeds it can kill: chickweed, dandelion, clover, crabgrass, quackgrass, foxtrail, barnyard grass, annual bluegrass, goosegrass, etc.
Finale Herbicide is a top choice glyphosate substitute that is highly effective. Being a non-selective herbicide, you must make sure you spray it only on the weeds in order to protect desired plants in your garden or lawn.
5. Generic Reward Diquat E-Pro 2L from Nufarm
- Non-carcinogenic glyphosate alternative for aquatic weed control.
- Can be used for landscape weed control too.
- Fast-acting post-emergent weed killer – results in 2 days.
- Effective non-selective action for driveways and brick patios.
- Very good for duckweed and red azolla weeds in ponds.
Diquat is a contact herbicide that causes desiccation and defoliation to kill and control herbs. This way, it interferes with the photosynthesis of plants and therefore the cell membrane functions.
Apart from using Diquat to kill weeds in landscapes, you can also use it to control weeds in ponds and other aquatic settings.
Common effective Diquat brands include Syngenta, Nufarm, and Reward.
Glyphosate and Cancer
“The herbicide glyphosate and the insecticides malathion and diazinon were classified as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A).”
If you live in California, you’re probably aware of the warning issued on glyphosate as a possible cancer-causing chemical.
To avoid the risk of cancer or other highly toxic herbicides, it is best to choose a herbicide that has natural ingredients or is purely organic. Check the label and see the ingredients.
If any is listed to be a cancer-causing agent, opt for a safer brand as a substitute to glyphosate. The weed killers above are great picks you can shop and use.
Is glufosinate safer than glyphosate?
Glufosinate is found in herbicides as an ammonium salt that occurs naturally. It is a broad-spectrum herbicide that is safer than glyphosate since it has not been classified for carcinogenic effects. This is why it is a safer alternative to glyphosate herbicides like Roundup.
Glufosinate is a good alternate non-selective, contact herbicide, with some systemic action though not as much systemic as Roundup.
Although glyphosate is a highly effective non-selective herbicide, there are some weeds such as waterhemp and marestail that are resistant to it.
Glyphosate is more effective on stubborn weeds such as annual grassy weeds while glufosinate is more effective on annual broadleaf weeds. It may not be very effective on perennial weeds such as mugwort, bindweed, Bermuda grass, and goldenrod.
Their mode of action differs. Glufosinate is a contact weed killer that is locally systemic while glyphosate is a fully systemic herbicide. Glyphosate is highly successful as a non-selective weed killer because it is translocated through plant cells and will destroy weeds to the root.
The problem with glyphosate herbicides such as Roundup is that they are not safe for humans and pets. They pose the danger of cancer in humans.
Traces of glyphosate have been found in most plant foods and even in breast milk. This is why you should opt for glyphosate alternatives to control weeds.
- International Agencer for Research for Cancer: IARC Monographs Volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides
- AgFax: Do you know the difference between Glufosinate or Glyphosate?
- NC State University Extension: Are There Substitutes to Glyphosate for Weed Control in Landscapes?
- UC Wee Science: Natural Herbicides: Are they effective?
I am a registered nurse passionate about gardening and home improvement.
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