How can I safely kill invasive weeds near water?

May 13, 2010|By Ellen Nibali | Special to The Baltimore Sun

Question: What can I use to kill invasive weeds along my stream? I hear that the most common weed killer also kills aquatic life.

Answer: Use a weed killer formulated for use near water. We think the weed killer you are referring to is one containing glyphosate, a systemic herbicide which is very effective on difficult weeds because it goes down and kills the roots. The problem is not the glyphosate itself, but the "inert" ingredients that are added to it. So, when you need to apply a glyphosate herbicide near water, find a product specially formulated to be aquatic safe: such as Erasure or Rodeo. Pesticides applied near water require a permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment, usually an easy call to 410-537-3651.

Question: Our bag of mulch was full of termites. I didn't realize it until after my teenager had already spread it all over the yard! Should the store pay for treating our yard for termites?

Answer: Not to worry. To survive, termites must have a moist environment at all times, so occasionally they set up housekeeping in bags of mulch. As soon as the bag is opened or mulch is spread, they die quickly. Remember that termites are native insects, and we all have some in the vicinity of our homes naturally. That is okay as long as your home is constructed well enough to discourage them. If you haven't had termite problems in the past, you won't suddenly start getting them now. Please visit our website for more information about termites.

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