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The herbicide: the solution against intrusive herbs
In our garden often the presence of intrusive grasses, or weeds, can represent a problem for the plants and flowers that we have carefully planted and seen grow. Among the most common "weeds" we can mention amaranth, horsetail and other vegetable formations whose growth is characterized by rapid proliferation. Many weeds in fact live at the expense of other organisms, determining the consumption and in many cases the death of the latter. In the course of botanical history, many solutions have been found by man to overcome this problem. With the advent of laboratory chemistry, already in the 1930s, we can find the first chemical compounds aimed at forming what we commonly call "herbicide".
The various types of herbicide
The herbicide is therefore a compound aimed at eliminating, often selectively, the infested plants of our garden through particular chemical processes. As you can guess there are "natural" herbicides and synthetic herbicides, each with its own characteristics and reactions. The herbicides or synthetic herbicides are recognized primarily as xenobionts. This term indicates the incompatibility of these substances with the chemical composition of particular organisms, which in the case of herbicides are represented by specific plants. Herbicides are therefore aimed at eliminating certain species based on the differentiation substances present in their composition. This allows us to make a distinction between two basic types of chemical herbicide, the herbicide that points to the destruction of broad-leaved plants and that aimed at eliminating narrow-leaved plants. This allows the herbicide to exert a selective reaction in the green zone in which it is spread, thus avoiding the elimination of any present plant species. Among the herbicides it is possible to make a further distinction, due above all to the recognition of those substances called "antigerminello". Some herbicides have the task of attacking the intrusive plant during the germination phase, thus performing a pre-emergency action. Others are able to destroy the plant organism that has already completed its development phase, in this case we will talk about post-emergency action. Depending on the needs and the gravity of the infestation of one's garden by intrusive plants it will be possible to choose between a pre- or post-emergency intervention.
The environmental impact
The herbicides, precisely because of their destructive power and their xenobiontic nature, have long fueled criticism regarding the use of harmful chemicals in agriculture and gardening. The phytotoxicity attributed to herbicides is mainly due to the fact that they can also be transmitted to organisms not interested in extription through xylematic flow. Another problem concerns the times and methods of disposal of the herbicide in the environment. Although some types may be dispersed and absorbed relatively quickly, others may employ much longer time spans. Often the slowness in dispersing into the environment can cause accumulation phenomena which lead to what is called biomagnification in biology. In the 1950s the use of herbicides, such as the Atrazine, caused enormous pollution phenomena even in some areas of Italy. This, like so many other substances, penetrating the aquifers contributed to the contamination of numerous territories aimed at cultivation and agricultural production.
Modern chemistry and natural solutions
Today the chemical industries that produce herbicides increasingly aim at the formulation of increasingly selective and environmentally friendly compounds. Many of these are constituted at the base by organisms such as fungi that naturally aim at the elimination of certain plants, or from liquids obtained from fermentation processes. An example could in fact consist of vinegar, a substance that derives from the fermentation of wine and has no environmental impact. Even now it is possible to opt for the use of natural "homemade" herbicides, obtained from the union of common substances such as salt or as just said wine vinegar. In fact, thanks to its acidity, vinegar can have a destructive impact on contact with certain plant species. The water-vinegar-salt compound is increasingly used in gardening. The garden is in fact an environment used for conviviality, for this reason it is always advisable to use substances that have a very low impact on organisms and consequently on humans. Another technique used as an alternative to the use of herbicides could be the polydiserbo. The polydiserbo is based on burning vegetables by means of electric, thermal or electromagnetic waves. This technique, as you can guess, is widely used especially in large-scale agriculture and not so much in gardening, where it could be uncomfortable or not very suitable for infestation in the garden.
The gardener's good practices!
Before buying a chemical herbicide for your garden it is always better to consult an expert or, if you are already familiar with chemistry, read carefully the composition of the substance you are going to buy. For the garden it is always advisable to rely on natural solutions, these as well as doing good to the pockets can do just as well for the health. The air you breathe in your garden must be clean, just so you can fully enjoy its beauty!