Investigating Natural Postemergent Herbicide Solutions

Summary Grace Brosofsky

Chemical Herbicides...
Can cause: ● Cancer ● Birth defects ● Irritation of the skin ● Parkinson's disease ● Peripheral neuropathy ● Acute respiratory distress syndrome ● Endangerment of species

Despite these effects, global herbicide sales rose above 14 billion dollars in 2001. Is there a solution that meets the demand for weed control (efficacy) without harming our world?

Natural Herbicides can offer both low toxicity and efficacy

Low Toxicity


Natural Herbicides

What is the most effective natural postemergent herbicide?
Main herbicide options: Clove oil (C) Vinegar (D) D-limonene (E) Adjuvant Options: Lemon juice (A) Yucca extract/garlic extract solution (B)

How can I combine herbicides and adjuvants to create a solution with the greatest efficacy?

I hypothesize that a tank mix of vinegar and dlimonene will provide the greatest efficacy.

Clove oil



Previous Research Shows:
● Several aliphatic carboxylic acids show potential as natural herbicides ● Vinegar is more useful in broadleaf control than grass control, and adjuvants do not seem to significantly increase vinegar efficacy ● The natural approach may be more timeconsuming than the use of chemicals such as glyphosate; however, it is worthwhile as chemical herbicides can cause numerous environmental health problems.

Mixtures Used
C- Clove oil solution A- Lemon juice AC- Clove oil solution and lemon juice D- Vinegar E- D-limonene solution AE- D-limonene solution with lemon juice AD- Vinegar and lemon juice

B- Yucca extract/ garlic extract solution

BC- Clove oil solution and yucca extract/ garlic extract solution

BD- Vinegar and yucca extract/ garlic extract solution

BE- D-limonene solution with yucca extract/ garlic extract solution

CD- Clove oil and vinegar tank mix

DE- D-limonene and vinegar tank mix

CE- D-limonene and clove oil tank mix

After making necessary calculations, I measured and created herbicidal mixtures.

The experiment was conducted in two different plots to verify and compare results
Plot A: ● Varied weeds ● A 20 gpa and 100 gpa section ● 30 one square foot quadrates total Plot B: ● Nearly 100% narrowleaf vetch ● A 100 gpa section only ● 15 one square foot quadrates total

Plot A, 100 gpa section, at 7 days after treatment (DAT)

Note discoloration in treated quadrates in comparison to the weedy-check (control) on far left

Plot A, 20 gpa, at 7 DAT
Much less discoloration was seen than in the 100 gpa plot, showing that a 20 gpa volume is not sufficient.

Data at 7 DAT by visual ratings
In Plot A, 100 gpa, percent discoloration ranged from 95% in BD and BE to 100% in CE, CD, and DE. (0% efficacy was seen in A, B, and X) In Plot A, 20 gpa, percent discoloration ranged from 10% in E, AE, and BC to 80% in AC. (0% efficacy was seen in B, BD, BE, and X). In Plot B, percent discoloration ranged from 2% in A to 99% in D and DE. (0% efficacy was seen in X).

Mean Ratings Based on Visual and Dot-Grid Analysis at 7 DAT

Trends observed in Plot A, 100 gpa

Trends observed in Plot A, 20 gpa

Trends observed in Plot B

● Vinegar was generally the most effective of the primary herbicides ● Tank mixes were effective ● Lemon juice significantly improved the performance of clove oil and sometimes dlimonene, but adjuvants did not seem to be beneficial for vinegar ● Herbicides were much more effective at 100 gpa than 20 gpa ● Some less effective herbicides such as BD exhibited broadleaf control but not grass control; these could possibly be used on lawns

DE (Plot B)

DE (Plot A, 20 gpa)

DE was the most effective mixture at 100 gpa, supporting my hypothesis.
DE (Plot A, 100 gpa)

However, DE was not the most effective mixture at 20 gpa, showing that my hypothesis may only be true for high application volume

What the Google Science Fair means to me..
This experiment is important because it can help people achieve weed control without harming our world. If I won the Google Science Fair 2012, it would mean so much not only for me but also for millions of others. It would allow me to pursue my dreams and open the door to opportunities I would otherwise not have. Winning would additionally prompt more research for finding safe alternatives for use in our environment- my ultimate goal in this project.

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