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Bio herbicides

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default Bio herbicides

Post by Chilli-head on 16th May 2011, 11:13 am

I've just come across the idea of Bio-herbicides, which is a new one on me. In particular, pelargonic acid. This is a fatty acid present in various plants (in particular pelargoniums). It's (non-selective) effect is to disrupt the waxy cuticle covering the leaves of plants, and thus leaving them to desiccate. As such it may be effective against waxy leaved weeds which are less vulnerable to other herbicides.

Now, there is some debate about whether this should be allowable in Organic growing, as (like pyrethrins, for example) it is a natural plant extract. Now, I wonder what to think of this. For the home-grower, I can see little need for herbicides at all, but in large scale growing perhaps there is a place - given that the last act before entering into conversion to organics is often spraying off with glyphosate. But I do feel a bit uneasy about the argument that it should be OK for organic farming because it is a natural plant extract. So of course are nicotine and curare.

What do you make of it ?
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Post by Compostwoman on 16th May 2011, 12:29 pm

Hmmm. In principle I think a qualified yes to "natural" remedies but yes actually they can be just as toxic to other life as the synthetic based ones. The only thing is the natural ones tend to bio accumilate less AND degrade rapidly.

But as you say, there are some very nasty "natural" remedies.

Will have to have a think. bigthink
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Post by Mike on 17th May 2011, 4:26 pm

Perhaps should note that there are a few plants that practice chemical warfare against the competition. Since this is the permaculture section, an obvious example would be black walnut (excellent/valuable timber; the nuts are tasty but the shells much harder to open/extract the nut meats than the walnuts with which you are more familiar).

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Post by Adrian on 17th May 2011, 8:09 pm

The also secrete Juglone, also called 5-hydroxy-1,4-naphthalenedione which inhibits certain enzymes needed for metabolic function in other plants. If memory serves, there are only a few species that can resist this mainly Betula and Acer (Beech and Maple)

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