Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 04-24-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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26 SPRING IN THE VALLEY 2019 APRIL 24-MAY 1, 2019 | THE VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER ANDREW GREGORY, at Depault Hardware in Cumberland, shows one of the vinegar- based products some gardeners prefer to use as a herbi- cide in the wake of concerns that Monsanto's Roundup may cause cancer. Vinegar-based prod- ucts, which may not be as effective for as long as Roundup, can be found in many garden centers. Keeping your garden weed-free in wake of Roundup decision Spring is here, and the weeds are beginning to pop. So what are you going to do about them, and about your use of Roundup, America's overwhelming favorite of homeown- ers looking to control those uninvited guests? It was just a few months ago, after years of fighting between attorneys and Monsanto, Roundup's maker, that a jury awarded $78.5 million in com- pensatory and punitive damages to a California man who claimed Roundup gave him cancer. In fact, more than 11,200 lawsuits have been filed so far, with most claimants saying they have varied blood cancers, most notable non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, from the use of Roundup. Monsanto, and their new owner, the German chemical giant Bayer, claim there is no connection between the cancers and Roundup's active ingre- dient, glyphosate. Glyphosate was developed in 1970 to control weeds in crops, and is the most used herbicide in the United States. Though there are options using vinegar for weed control, millions of homeowners have embraced Roundup's use to control weeds in flower beds and pavement cracks, or along walls. Roundup will quickly kill everything it touches, so it should not be used, for instance, to kill dan- delions in a lawn, as the lawn grasses will be killed, too. (Other products, called "selective herbicides," will kill weeds like dandelions, but not lawn grasses. Weed-B-Gone is a well-known example). If you choose to use Roundup, you should read the label directions care- fully. In 1995, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) labeled it a "probable human carcinogen," but has since reversed direction and said glyphosate "is not carcinogenic and actually has low toxicity for humans, as long as it is used according to label directions," reports the web site www. consumersafety.org, presented by the Meneo Law Group. At a minimum, gardeners should wear gloves while mixing any Roundup concentrates with water, and use it sparingly. If you are using a pump sprayer or watering can, Roundup is best used on days without wind. Never breathe the mist. Calm mornings and evenings are safest for its use. Finally, wash hands and arms thoroughly after using Roundup. So are there more organic options for local homeowners? Andrew Gregory, who has studied with the Master Gardener program at URI but By TOM WARD Valley Breeze Publisher tward@valleybreeze.com is not yet a graduate, says "yes." Gregory works at Depault Hardware in Cumberland, where they sell prod- ucts that use strong concentrations of vinegar to kill weeds. While their impact might not be as long-lasting as Roundup, they will work well when used as directed. "Everyone used to use vinegar (to kill weeds) back in the day," says Gregory. "It was very convenient." Many homeowners, especially those with gardens filled with herbs or veg- etables, will use vinegar to kill weeds, hoping to keep the garden as organic and chemical-free as possible. Still, homeowners will find Roundup on shelves this spring and summer as the legal battle rages on. It remains your choice. Here's a vinegar-based weed killing recipe found on the internet that Andrew Gregory says works well, and is very inexpensive. Mix in a pump sprayer or watering can: • 1 gallon vinegar • 2 cups Epsom salt • 1/4 cup Dawn dish liquid (blue) Just mix thoroughly and spray unwanted weeds in the morning. (Use after the dew has evaporated.) Walk away. Go back after dinner (about 10 hours later) and the weeds are all gone! Recipe for inexpensive, vinegar-based weed killer The Smithfield Avenue Nursery School The Smithfield Avenue Nursery School 514 Smithfield Avenue, Pawtucket, RI 02860 401-728-4470 Since 1966 Register NOW for the Fall Limited Openings Available Pre-School – Half Day & Extended Day Programs Four Star Bright Star Program Teacher/Child Ratio below State Ratio

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