Weeding is an operation that is performed to prevent weeds from developing. It can be classified according to various types: it can be chemical, mechanical and natural. By chemical we mean that weeding carried out through agro-drugs, or herbicides, composed of synthetic chemicals. By mechanical we mean that weeding by agricultural machinery, such as the weeder, which cuts and mixes the surface layer of the soil, and the harrow, which breaks the surface grassy layer. Finally, natural weeding is the least traumatic for the environment: it uses completely natural substances that are not a danger to the environment or to humans, such as vinegar, salt or egg boiling water.

The chemical composition

The herbicide is a product that began to be used after the 1950s. It was initially composed of noxious and dangerous substances, including arsenic, perchloric acid, sodium chlorate and sulfuric acid, but fortunately these have since been abandoned. A herbicide can be mainly divided into three parts: the active principle, the adjuvants and the other inert or co-formulants. The active ingredient is the molecule that acts on the plant to be affected, the adjuvants are those substances that increase the efficiency of the molecule allowing the liquid to adhere to the plant surface, while the other inert or coformulating substances are those substances that dilute the molecule of the principle active. To ensure that it has an effect, it is absorbed by the plant via the leaves,

The herbicide and its selectivity

Herbicides possess a selectivity, which can be zero or high: by zero selectivity we mean that herbicide that kills everything with which it comes into contact, while by high selectivity we mean that herbicide that is able to attack only weed. Consequently it is the ability of a molecule to damage only the weed without causing damage to the cultivated plant. Selectivity is classified into five different types: by distribution, by hypogeal absorption, by apogeic absorption, by biochemistry and by translocation. That by distribution is when you apply the herbicide to a specific area. Hypogeal absorption occurs when the herbicide, which is not very soluble, is absorbed by the root part of the plant and is therefore used on plants with a very deep root system. The one by apogeic absorption will only have an effect on the sprouted plant. That biochemistry occurs when the plant is able to make the herbicide molecule inactive, decomposing it. Finally, translocation selectivity is when the molecule cannot move within the plant and therefore has a limited effect.

Herbicide: Natural weeding

Chemical weeding is very effective and immediate, but in the long run it can cause damage to the environment, polluting the soil, water and air, and can harm humans, as it is present in food and can be carcinogenic. For this reason it is not recommended to use chemistry, but rather to seek biological solutions that are not dangerous. Not only does a natural herbicide not pollute the environment, but all those insects useful in organic farming are not killed. One of the best known methods of natural weeding is to create a solution consisting of 1 liter of white vinegar and 120 milliliters of lemon juice. Another method, known since ancient times, consists in spreading the salt directly on the weeds before and after having watered them with boiling water. In this way they are burned by the action of the salt. Egg boiling water can also be used as a natural herbicide, pouring it still hot on the weeds. Another natural herbicide can be obtained by mixing gin with the juice of two lemons. Finally, there is also the option of a gas burner, if you want immediate effectiveness.

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