Under the umbrella term of pesticides, a herbicide is a substance that is toxic to plants. Chemical herbicides are widespread and easy to use, with some which target specific plants and others which will eliminate all plants it comes into contact with. One widespread herbicide is called glyphosate.


– Sometimes, a weed can be too stubborn and a herbicide is the only way to effectively remove it.

– The EU and the UK have the strictest laws on pesticides (and, therefore, herbicides). (ref) Meaning pesticides purchased in the UK will not be as harmful as those elsewhere in the world. 

– Following the label to the letter will reduce any potential damage to the environment. (ref)

– Organic herbicides are available and this reduces their impact on the environment. (ref)

– Some species have no natural predators, and a pesticide and/ or herbicide is the only solution to getting rid of them. (ref)


– Herbicides that get into the water can be dangerous as they kill wild plants. This reduces oxygen in the water and organism can suffocate. (ref)

– Non-selective herbicides can impact more plants than the intended weed and this may result in more plants dying. (ref)

– Some species can grow resistant to a herbicide, potentially causing issues in the future. (ref)

– Conditions have to be good to use these chemicals, it should not be too windy or wet as this will potentially spread the chemical. (ref)

Herbicides Summary

Herbicides can ensure that a weed dies and that plants and gardens continue to thrive, and labels help to ensure proper usage and attempt to mitigate chemical leaks.. However, there are concerns about chemical leaks into the environment which kill and impact organisms. There are also issues in which synthetic herbicides can attack other, unintended organisms, impacting the wildlife in and near gardens. Organic herbicides are an alternative to synthetic ones (more information can be found below) which have less of an impact on the environment and help to ensure the local environment survives and can be sustainable. 


– Mulching an area can be a great way to reduce weed germination, stopping weeds from growing. Organic mulch can also be part of an ecosystem for bugs and other organisms. (ref)

– There are natural weed killers, made with substances such as citrus acid. (ref)

– In careful concentrations, vinegar, soap, and salt can also kill weeds. (ref)

– Hand-pulling weeds. (ref) Weeds will probably come back unless the roots are also pulled up.

– Flame weeding can kill the top of a plant. (ref)

– A well-maintained lawn can create too much competition for weeds. (ref)

– Boiling water on plants can be an alternative. (ref)

– A knife can be used to cut weeds back. (ref)

– An impermeable surface can stop weeds from growing, but will also stop everything else growing too. (ref)

– There are guides that specify how to repel certain pests from the garden. (ref), (ref)