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How-To

Keep Herbicide Off the Plants You Love

Kill weeds, not beloved plants, when using sprayed herbicides

Gary Junken, Produced by Antonio Reis

No matter where you garden, or how good a gardener you are, you will always have to contend with weeds.

While hand pulling may be the best, most environmentally safe way to get rid of weeds in your garden, invariably you’re going to have difficult, hard-to-pull weeds that have really rooted in. In that case, you’ll probably look to an herbicide for help. If the weed you’re trying to get rid of is in a bed or border of your precious flowers, you run the risk of that herbicide drifting and damaging those plants. Thankfully, there is a better way.

This tip comes from Fine Gardening contributing editor Genevieve Schmidt from Arcata, California. Take a common spray bottle and mix your herbicide of choice to the label’s directions. Or do it the easy way and buy a premixed version. Then take a 16- or 20-oz. cup and cut a hole in the bottom that fits the nozzle of the spray bottle you’re using. On the open end of the cup, create an angled opening with a pair of scissors.

Once you’re in the garden and have a weed in sight, take your spray bottle and insert the nozzle into the bottom of the cup. Place the cup on top of the weed and spray away. The cup becomes a buffer, inhibiting the spray from drifting onto the flowers on either side.

The flowers are fine, but that weed is a goner.

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