Vinegar: An alternative to glyphosate?

By Deborah Smith-Fiola, Independent IPM Consultant, Landscape Enterprise, LLC and Stanton Gill, Extension Specialist, IPM for Nurseries and Greenhouses University of Maryland Extension Central Maryland Research and Education Center 

Glyphosate is the chemical name of world’s most widely used and best-selling herbicide. It is used in more than 130 countries on agricultural crops, orchards, nurseries, greenhouses, lawns, landscapes, rights-of-way, etc.. Over 100 million pounds are applied to U.S. farms and lawns every year, according to the EPA. In the home and garden sector, it is the second most-used pesticide, with over 5 million pounds used per year. In golf courses and turfgrass maintenance, 5- 8 million pounds of glyphosate are used each year.

One landscape maintenance industry survey1 attested that glyphosate may account for up to 90% of pesticide applications in landscape beds. Glyphosate was patented by Monsanto under the trade name ‘RoundUp’ in 1974. Glyphosate is now widely available from many manufacturers under numerous trade names after patent protection ended in 2000: RoundUp, KleenUp, Accord, Imitator, Eraser, Pronto, Rodeo, etc.. There are over 750 products containing glyphosate for sale in the U.S2 , according to the National Pesticide Information Center. Glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine, a.k.a. the isopropylamine salt of glyphosate] is a non-selective, post-emergent, broad-spectrum systemic herbicide.

When applied to growing plants, it is absorbed by foliage and translocated to the roots, where it blocks the production of a specific enzyme pathway needed for plant growth. Wilting and death occur within ~7-10 days. After application, glyphosate binds tightly to soil particles, becoming immobilized so it can no longer harm plants. Due to no residual soil activity, a crop can be seeded or transplanted into the soil soon after application. It is ultimately broken down in the soil by microorganisms into ammonium and carbon dioxide.

Read more about this controversial topic here.

Comments are closed.


Wanted Dead: Alligatorweed

Scientific Name: Alternanthera philoxeroides A native of South America, alligatorweed was inadvertently introduced to Southeastern U.S. in the late 1800s. Its white flowers are clover-like and bloom a summer. Most commonly found floating in mats along the water’s edge, alligatorweed also grows immersed and even terrestrially. Its opposing leaves are lance shaped, 1-2 inches long, […]

Read more »


Storm Drain Marking Project

  Do you know where the water that flows into a storm drain goes? This water does not go to a treatment plant but flows directly into our streams, lakes, and rivers. Many people poor oil, paint, yard waste, and other pollutants into the storm drain because they think the water will be treated before […]

Read more »


Kiosks help us tell the story

RiverLink and MountainTrue have developed informational kiosks for each river access point along the French Broad River Paddle Trail with a grant from the North Carolina Recreational Trails Program. Each kiosk focuses on historical and natural features of the river, as well as paddle trail information including maps and boater resources. These kiosks aid users and […]

Read more »

Upcoming Events

Get Volunteer Updates

Add your name and email to our volunteer list to receive new volunteer opportunities straight to your inbox at the start of each month.

By submitting this form, you are granting: RiverLink, 170 Lyman Street, Asheville, NC, 28801, permission to email you. You may unsubscribe via the link found at the bottom of every email. (See our Email Privacy Policy ( for details.) Emails are serviced by Constant Contact.

Newsletter Sign-up

Get Involved

RiverLink is a

Volunteer »

Explore | View All

Water Quality




RiverLink Instagram

River Facts | View All

"The French Broad River is the third oldest river in the world."

Blue Ridge Heritage National Heritage Area