Nothing destroys the pristine appearance of your well-kept driveway or sidewalk like unsightly weeds, grasses and other overeager plants sticking their foliage up through cracks and crevices. Stone, brick or masonry walls and patios laid with pavers may also fall victim to "volunteer" greenery. Scotts Ortho GroundClear herbicide concentrate is formulated to destroy unwanted plants from the inside. The product can also be used directly on the soil to prevent plant growth in areas destined for purposes like paving and children's play areas.
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Ortho GroundClear contains two herbicides: imazapyr and glyphosate. Imazapyr is a low toxicity herbicide that penetrates the foliage, stems and roots of weeds and grasses to kill them. Glyphosate kills every plant it touches. The herbicide is absorbed by the plant, which circulates the poison throughout its system, killing it. Glyphosate has low toxicity to humans and animals, but persists in the soil for six months or more. GroundClear should only be used in areas where you want no plants for one year, according to the product label. Complete death of the treated vegetation may take several days.
When to Apply GroundClear
Herbicides work best when weeds and other undesirable plants such as grasses are actively growing. Young plants may be more susceptible to the poison, making control quicker and easier to achieve. If the plants are taller than 6 inches, cut or mow them down before applying GroundClear to increase the herbicide's efficacy. You can spray or pour GroundClear onto the unwanted plants at any time, however, and it will eventually kill them. Once the plants are dead, they're usually easy to pull or scrape out of the soil. One application should remain effective for a year, according to the company's website.
Mixing and Application
GroundClear may be applied with a pump or hand sprayer or an ordinary watering can. Put 1 quart of GroundClear concentrate into the sprayer tank or watering can, and add 1 gallon of plain water. Mix well. Sprinkle, spray or pour enough GroundClear on the unwanted plants to thoroughly wet them. Apply it slowly enough for the soil around the target plants to absorb some of the herbicide, but take care to avoid runoff that could damage nearby desirable plants or taint water sources.
Tips and Warnings
If desirable trees or shrubs are near the area you need to treat, measure the distance from their main stems or trunks to the dripline -- the point just below the farthest stretch of foliage. Double the result, and keep GroundClear at least that far away from the desirable plants. Always wear protective clothing, including gloves and eye protection, when spraying herbicides. Spray on calm days to avoid breezes carrying the herbicide to other parts of the yard, and don't use GroundClear when the daytime temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. As with all herbicide application, keep children and pets out of the treated area until it's dry.
- Ortho: GroundClear Vegetation Killer Concentrate
- California Statewide Integrated Pest Management System: Imazapyr
- California Statewide Integrated Pest Management System: Glyphosate
- Ortho: GroundClear Vegetation Killer Concentrate Product Label
- Ortho: Kill and Prevent Weeds for up to One Year with Ortho GroundClear
Audrey Lynn has been a journalist and writer since 1974. She edited a weekly home-and-garden tabloid for her hometown newspaper and has regularly contributed to weekly and daily newspapers, as well as "Law and Order" magazine. A Hambidge Fellow, Lynn studied English at Columbus State University.