Vinegar vs Glyphosate for Weed Control

Many organic vegetable growers find weed control a problem. There are few registered organic herbicides and many are not very effective and are expensive. One chemical that has been discussed as an organic herbicide is acetic acid – vinegar. Does it really work as well as an established herbicide like glyphosate? Jacob Domenghini at Eastern Kentucky University wanted to find out.

Experiment

Jacob ran an experiment twice, in 2016 and 2017, for 132 days of growing season. His weed control treatments were glyphosate, 5% acetic acid (typical household grade vinegar), 20% acetic acid (horticulture grade vinegar), 30% acetic acid (horticulture grade vinegar), and a plain water control. Treatments were applied in the fall and spring (weed knock down the season before planting) or spring only both years to ungrazed pasture that was mown to 3 inches high before treatment. Percentage of weed cover within the plots was evaluated on a scale of 0-10 with 0=no weeds and 10=covered in weeds. All plots started with a rating of 10 and evaluations were based on the number of days after treatment it took to have 50% and 100% weed regrowth, and the number of follow-up treatments required through the growing season to keep the weeds down.

Fall + spring treatments received a treatment in October two days after mowing and were sprayed to wet, not to runoff. In the spring, plots were once again mown to 3 inches and all treatments applied two days after mowing in March, again spraying until wet. Plots were rated daily for the first 10 days then all plots were tilled to a depth of 6 inches with a rototiller to simulate garden bed preparation. After tilling, plots were rated twice a week. When a plot was rated as 5 or above, the treatment was reapplied.

Results

The vinegar treatments all declined to a rating of 0 within 2 days of treatment because of the burn-down effect of acid. Plots treated with glyphosate required 6-7 days to get to a rating of 0. Glyphosate with both fall and spring treatment required a reapplication at an average of 78 days. Both 20% and 30% horticulture grade vinegar required an average of 79 days before reapplication was required. The spring only application of 5% vinegar required reapplication in an average of 63 days. Application of any of the herbicides in the fall did not reduce weed competition in the spring. Glyphosate plots only required one retreatment each year. The 5% vinegar required 5-9 retreatments in a year and the 20% and 30% acetic acid required between 3 and 5 retreatments in a year.

Conclusion

The 20-30% horticulture grade acetic acid is an effective herbicide that can be used by organic growers to replace glyphosate, but will require more retreatments through the season. The 5% acetic acid was not as effective. Preparing the garden in the fall with herbicide before spring planting was not worthwhile.

Source:

J.C. Domenghini. 2020. Comparison of Acetic Acid to Glyphosate for Weed Suppression in the Garden. HortTechnology. February 2020 30(1) 82-87.

More information for homeowners from UF/IFAS on herbicides.

More information on herbicides from UF/IFAS.

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Posted: March 26, 2020


Category: Agriculture, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Horticulture
Tags: Glyphosate, Herbicide, Organic, Vinegar


Comments:

Rebecca Elliott

February 2, 2022

Dear reader, Thank you for your feedback! I have more posts coming up soon. Plase stay tuned. If you wish to participate in our classes on nutrition and healthy lifestyle, feel free to sign up to my next class using the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/healthy-for-life-series-1-live-session-5-virtual-sessions-tickets-243082485257?aff=eprofsaved All the best, Rebecca

Cataratas
February 1, 2022

Hi there Rebecca Very nice content and blog, I found it very informative and useful, hope to read more nice articles like this one around here, Keep sharing the best content, Best regards! Your follower Salvatore Cataratas

Rase De Pisici
January 24, 2022

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Rebecca Elliott

November 16, 2021

You are welcome, Catherine! Please subscribe to be notified of my next posts. Take care, Rebecca

Catherine E McEwen
November 16, 2021

Wonderful tips! Thanks for sharing!

Rebecca Elliott

November 16, 2021

Thank you! I hope you can implement some of these tips. Stay tuned for my next posts. Take care, Rebecca

Anna Seskerni
November 16, 2021

Thanks for these suggestions I'll think about while shopping for our big holiday meal. We did try a tofurkey loaf last thanksgiving and everyone enjoyed it, but i didn't know about some of these other substitutions to helpmy health

Kenny
November 16, 2021

Very well prepared and healthy list diet! Thank you Rebecca!

Rebecca Elliott

November 12, 2021

Thank you eericdw07! I'm very glad you are finding this information helpful! I hope you find the recipes tasty! Stay tuned for my next post next week! All the best, Rebecca

Erick
November 12, 2021

Hi, I really love to read your blog, it’s such a rich information, I particularly love two recipes above on the second video avocado in the egg and the last one avocado and strawberry... I hope learn those recipes for keep a good health and have a wonderful thanksgiving.. well it’s going to be one more thing to be thankful for .

Rebecca Elliott

November 12, 2021

“What was your favorite recipe?” “Do you intend to cook any of them?” “Do you intend to include any of the unsaturated rich foods in your diet?”

Rebecca Elliott

November 9, 2021

Hello Lamont, Thank you for your comment, and I'm sorry about your father. Improving your diet is a crucial step to preventing heart disease. Please subscribe to receive notifications on my next posts about diet and heart disease prevention. All the best, Rebecca

Lamont R
November 9, 2021

Thanks for this info! I don't smoke, but I can see I probably need to improve my diet. My pops died of heart disease last year!

jpopenoe

April 7, 2021

The researchers I talked to believe it is any kind of oak, at least the kinds that grow here in Florida. Our oaks will hybridize and it can be difficult to tell them apart. They believe there is some antibacterial property in the oaks that helps the citrus overcome HLB. They are not sure what it is, so research continues. It could be some type of peptide like that found in finger limes that also has antibiotic properties and is being developed for HLB therapy. It could also be that the oaks create a healthier soil microflora that allows the trees to resist HLB. Research will tell, but it is something that homeowners can try now before we know exactly how it works.

Chappy
April 7, 2021

You mentioned Laurel Oak in your article. My property in Fort Pierce has several different oak varieties, and although I am not certain which varieties they are, I have heard them referred to as Live Oak and others as Scrub Oak. Are these leaves also believed to be beneficial in trying to counteract the effects of HLB in citrus?

jpopenoe

February 1, 2021

You can grow native persimmons or Kaki persimmons. Kaki persimmons are more popular because there are non-astringent types which can be eaten firm or soft. Many nurseries provide Kaki persimmons. More information about growing persimmons can be found at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_persimmon. Popular cultivar information about which cultivars to grow can be found at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg242. A local nursery near you that provides persimmons is Chestnut Hill, https://chestnuthilltreefarm.com/product-category/fruit-oak-trees/persimmon-trees/, but you need only search online for Kaki persimmon to find more.

NATALIA LOWE
January 30, 2021

Hello, please give information where we can buy persimmon tree? And which kind is good for Marion County. Thank you, Tasha

jpopenoe

April 22, 2020

The blueberry gardener's guide at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg359 provides some guidance on the amount of water blueberries need at various times of year. It depends on your soil type, the blueberry being grown, and the environmental conditions.

Marcos Bengolea
April 20, 2020

Whats a typical bluenerry water use curve in South Florida?

jpopenoe

April 13, 2020

The research was done on plots without crops, so there was no comparison of yields. Vinegar works by burning back leaves on contact, so great care should be taken when using around crops. Glyphosate is translocated within the plant to kill weeds and even greater care should be taken when using that around crops.

Don DeWitt
April 12, 2020

How did the crop outputs fair with the different applications? Was the crop yield less with some because of the intensity of the application? Could you use an application to control weeds within the crop growing peruod? I am a strong adcocate against "Roundup"! I don't even know why it is still legal to use. I know of a farm that uses a combination of powerful weed killers (obviously not organic) and the overspray floats over to a horse pasture and burns their grazing grass.

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