Following glyphosate ban, Belgian gardeners find ‘eco-friendly’ weedkillers mostly ineffective

Credit: Sarah Crowley/The Spruce
Credit: Sarah Crowley/The Spruce

The majority of weed-killing products on the market today were rated “weak” or “bad,” according to results from the Belgian consumer testing company Test Aankoop, obtained by De Standaard.

“It is unfortunate that we have to put it so bluntly, and we are certainly not advocating the return of glyphosate, but these ecological herbicides hardly work, if at all,” said Simon November of Test Aankoop.

Following a ban on glyphosate in herbicides 2018, none of them now contain that chemical, which was found to be carcinogenic and harmful to nature – hence its presence in a substance designed to kill plants.

Without glyphosate allowed in the solution, producers switched to alternatives based on pelargonic acid, acetic acid, or a mixture of fatty acids.

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The consumer agency tested 19 of those new products (ones like Aveve Weed-Stop, Pursol Ecological Weed Killer, and Herbistop Ultra Total Weed Killer) throughout last year on grass, clover, buttercups, daisies, moss, and plantain (plantago).

Only against dandelions did products show a marginal degree of success, but even the yellow flowers stubbornly returned.

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Ultimately, garden specialists point to weed burners, metal brushes, mulch, and ground cover as solutions to the herbicides that no longer do the trick.

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In other words – we’ll all have to garden the old-fashioned way.

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