The Derry City and Strabane District Council in Ireland is considering reintroducing the use of Glyphosate. In most countries Glyphosate is being faded out as the weed killer due to the risks associated with using it. Glyphosate has also been blamed for causing cancer.
Last year the council decided to stop the use of Glyphosate within council facilities following research linking the chemical to cancer. A motion to abandon the use of Glyphosate was passed in February 2019.
The research study was instituted when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer identified Glyphosate, the world’s most commonly used weed killer, as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.
Nevertheless, the council considers its pitches to be in a ‘dire state’. On Thursday, officers from the council brought a report before the council’s Health and Community committee on Thursday to put forward the case for reinstating the use of the weed killer.
The report stated that the council had committed a ‘significant capital investment’ in its 3G pitches and that the maintenance of the pitches was needed.
“At present, there is encroachment of weeds on several of the 3G surfaces. If not managed effectively these weeds will take root and damage the carpet from the base upwards.” it stated.
“The manufacturer’s guidelines for the 3G carpet of these pitches requires that the surfaces are maintained weed free. With no viable alternative at present, the use of weed killer is necessary to maintain the manufacturers guarantee on the 3G carpet surfaces.”
The report said some of its pitches are required to be inspected to maintain the required standard for clubs to be eligible to play at the higher levels in several leagues.
“This accreditation is put at risk if the weeds are not kept under control on these pitches,” the report outlined.
How to kill weed?
The ‘Code of Practice for the Maintenance of Synthetic Sports Surfaces’ the British Sports & Play Construction Association (SAPCA) advises to remove weed manually. Only in case the weed infestation is too much to handle manually, a domestic weed-killers can be used that does cause damage to the surface of the pitch. Oil-based weed-killers should not be used. SAPCA goes on by saying that ‘there is no easy answer as to which chemicals may be used on synthetic turf to treat weeds, moss, and act as cleaning agents, etc., because of the vast number of differing varieties of product available.
“Generally speaking any product that is acidic in nature, i.e. pH less than 3 containing Halogens (chlorine, bromine, etc.), Sulphur and Nitrogen are likely to react. Likewise, if a product is oxidising, like Bleach, Peroxide, etc., then this can liberate free ions of the above elements that can then form acidic species in the presence of water.”
All products that are classed as ‘non-acidic’ and ‘non-oxidising’ should not cause a problem.
Anything that contains ‘Halogens’, ‘Acids’ or ‘Sulphur’ are unsuitable.
Pesticides and weed-killers should be pH neutral.
Most detergents should be suitable. For example:
Unsuitable weed-killers include:
- Lawn sand
- 24D Growth Hormone
Suitable weed-killers include:
- Round-up (glyphosate)
If doubt exists as to the suitability of any chemical substance, the installer/manufacturer of
the carpet should always be consulted before application to the surface.