Organic herbicides compete with glyphosate for controlling invasive vines

May 18, 2020

Woody vines can plague farms in the eastern U.S. nestled among natural woody areas, as well as home gardens across the entire country. Glyphosate (Roundup) has been a commonly used herbicide to control strong weeds like woody vines, but health concerns are causing public acceptance of glyphosate to diminish. A study recently published in Natural Areas Journal found that two commercially available organic herbicides (Pelargonic acid and cinnamon + clove oils) are highly effective in controlling woody vines. In addition to weed control benefits, the study found no adverse sides effects of these organic herbicides on beneficial soil microorganisms. Researchers found that it took three spray treatments of the organic pesticides compared to two sprays with glyphosate, but with only one additional spray, the woody vines that are commonly noxious weeds were killed. These vines were common periwinkle (Vinca minor), English ivy (Hedera helix), winter creeper (Euonymus fortune), and chocolate vine (Akebia quinate). Although the organic weed control was significantly more expensive than control with glyphosate, this study shows that there are promising opportunities for organic weed management that reduces harmful environmental and public health impacts.