Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Round Up Grass And Weed Killer Works For Mom (And Everyone Else)!

The Good: Easy to use, Kills most anything, Generally safe
The Bad: Does not kill dandelions effectively.
The Basics: Round Up Weed & Grass Killer is an effective spray for anyone's gardens and the gallon size is a great value!

It may seem odd to use something like Round Up weed killer to write about Mother's Day, but I think it's a great way to surprise the gardening mothers of the world out there with something they can truly use. At least, I know mine can! My mother is an avid gardener, one who spent the first fifty years of her gardening life pulling each and every weed by hand and loving every minute of sunlight and appreciating the compliments of everyone who drove by her house. The thing is, my mother is getting up there and as she now has both rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, gardening has become quite difficult for her, at least on the weeding end. So now, as Spring is upon us and Mother's Day just behind us, it seemed like a good time to test out something like Round Up's Grass and Weed Killer in the gallon size (we don't mess around at my mother's house!).

My mother's many gardens are bordered by rocks, which helps keep the lawn from growing into her gardens and provides a decent barrier so weeds cannot exit any of the gardens and creep into her lawn beyond. This, at least, is the theory. In practice, what my mother wrestles with every Spring are weeds that did not get the memo and have entered into the rock border. Most weeds, like clover, are very easy to pick out of the rock barrier as the rocks force the weeds to keep shallow, light roots that the pebbles and slightly larger rocks shift around when the weeds are tugged at. This year, however, several of the more prominent gardens had dandelions invading the rocks. Dandelions tend to have much hardier, deeper roots and these are precisely the type of weeds my mother can no longer pull with her hands or simple tools. It was dandelions, specifically, that led my mother and I to try Round Up Weed and Grass Killer.

Unfortunately, it was also dandelions that the product let us down on.

The gallon size Round Up Weed & Grass Killer arrived before us looking great and I had a wonderful feeling about it. Round Up is a strong brand name in the gardening community and the product claims to kill everything imaginable with visible results within six hours. As well, the sticker noting "Guaranteed Results" appealed to both my mother and I. The gallon jug is a little over a foot and a half tall and weighs under five pounds, which was also a concern to me as I didn't want my arthritic mother stumbling around with something heavy. The key selling point on this container was a sturdy (built in) handle on top and a spray nozzle attached.

The spray nozzle is a full handle grip nozzle which operates by squeezing a lower lever. Squeezing the trigger sprays the product one of two ways. The nozzle can be locked closed so nothing comes out - a convenient safety feature if children are in the house - or it can be set to "foam" (a misting spray) or "stream" (a pretty deadly beam of liquid that may be precisely targeted). I tended to use the "stream" function and really nail the weeds that were in the yard. The nozzle is connected to the canister by a thin tube that coils up to be about two feet long. Pulled taut, the tube is still only thirty-two inches long, but for most people, this means the canister may be set on the ground while the product is sprayed.

The usage of this product is ridiculously simple; it is point and shoot. The directions recommend getting within a foot of the plant one wants to kill and spraying. With the "stream" function, I found I could stand tall and spray and hit the giant dandelions and weeds no problem. I did a test section of lawn with the "foam" function and from a foot away, a single spray killed a foot square of grass within the promised six hours.

In fact, the reason for the brevity of this review is quite simple: Round Up Weed & Grass Killer was easy-to-use and did exactly what it promised. Grass browned within six hours and was burned out within twelve such that a decent wind blew away what was left when I simply scuffed my foot through the treated area. As well, every other weed I tested the product on reacted the same way. Clover, little violets, even some more invasive thorny weeds with thicker roots all burned out within twelve hours and left so little behind that I did not have to worry about our dog licking the plants and getting sick.

Except the dandelions. The dandelions in my mother's yard are superhuman dandelions (or superfloral dandelions). They are the type that are six inches to a foot in diameter at the base with roots that go down at least a foot. Within six hours, the dandelions were appropriately brown. However, unlike the other weeds, they did not desiccate further. The dandelions appeared to die and they lay there dead, but still firmly rooted in the ground. The dandelions we killed were slightly easier to pull from the ground, but most of them still had roots that were deep enough to require tools to get out, which pretty much defeated the purpose of our using them. That said, they still were slightly easier and they did appear to die pretty well.

Unfortunately, when I treated the dandelions in the rock borders a month ago, I sprayed one and did not unearth it. As I write this review, there is a new bud at the center of the few dead dandelion leaves that remained. In other words, while Round Up Weed & Grass Killer did an excellent job of making things easier and killing most everything, the hardiest of weeds might need the combo shot of this product and digging up before the root regenerates the main plant.

The gallon size was enough to get around my mother's packed acre of land with about 1/4 of the bottle left to spare. Because most gardener's needs are not likely to be more extreme than her property, this is an easy recommend. And the spray nozzle, even after an hour of use, did not leave my mother's hand cramped. That, too, is a great gift for mom!

For other products designed to kill things in the home or garden, please check out my reviews of:
Safer Beetle Traps
TAT Ant Traps
MaxAttrax Ant Baits


For other home and garden product reviews, please visit my index page on the subject!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission

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