If your pumpkin-growing efforts are continually being thwarted by weeds, then a herbicide for pumpkins may be just what you need. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing and using herbicides around pumpkin plants.
Why are Herbicides Needed for Pumpkins?
Herbicides for pumpkins aren’t usually a solution that home gardeners initially consider, but weeds can be severely detrimental to your plants. Even if you’ve taken every weed-prevention precaution you know of, chances are that weeds will still appear.
While they’re sometimes easy to ignore, at least for a while, every weed in your pumpkin patch is absorbing important nutrients and moisture from the soil, depriving your pumpkins of them.
Pumpkins that end up crowded out by weeds will be much smaller in size and the plants will generally be weaker.
This isn’t only because of competition for nutrients and water, but also for light - it won’t be long before weeds are towering over the leaves of your pumpkin plants, preventing them from photosynthesizing.
Manually weeding your pumpkin plants is always an option, but weeding takes time. It’s also not usually an activity that many people actually enjoy. Imagine if you could spend that time doing something else in your garden?
This is where a herbicide for pumpkins comes in…
Choosing a Herbicide for Pumpkins
When it comes to herbicides in general, the first question to ask yourself is…
Organic or chemical?
Since you’re most likely going to be eating your pumpkins, organic is the best option. There is more and more research emerging showing how chemical herbicides end up within the foods that they’re used around. This can have worrying long-term health effects, something you don’t want to be subjecting yourself or your family to.
Plus, being a gardener, chances are that you care about the environment. Chemical herbicides have a bad reputation for damaging the planet. They remain in soil and water for long periods of time, continuing to poison any plants, animals, or insects that come into contact with them.
But is organic as effective as chemical?
If you choose the right product, then yes. A will be able to tackle both annual and perennial weeds. Whether you’re dealing with spiky thistles, rampant dandelions, or blankets of clover, the right organic formula can handle all of that and more.
Results can be visible in as little as 24 hours, and you’ll also have the peace of mind that your garden is safe for children or pets, as well as wildlife, to spend time in.
Spray or Soil?
Most organic herbicides will be in the form of a spray, but soil herbicide options are available if you’re going for chemical.
However, soil herbicides should never be used around a vegetable bed. These are injected into the soil so that the surrounding plants soak up the chemicals, resulting in their death. There’s no way to control which plants end up absorbing those chemicals, so you don’t want to accidentally end up poisoning your pumpkin plants.
Spray herbicides may take longer to apply since you will need to target each individual weed, but this accuracy makes them perfect for use around food crops.
When Should a Herbicide for Pumpkins Be Applied?
There are three stages to applying a herbicide for pumpkins.
Your very first application should be before you sow the seeds or plant out seedlings.
This will be the easiest application, since you’ll be working with a blank space and won’t need to maneuver your way around plants.
How long should you wait before sowing seeds or planting out?
If you’re using an organic herbicide, you can sow or plant out immediately. However, if you’re using a chemical herbicide, you will need to check with the manufacturer. At least three days is usually recommended.
Your second application should be after your plants have started to grow. Wait until your plants have around five leaves and then apply your herbicide on any weeds that have sprung up around your plants.
As your pumpkins grow, you will need to thin them out to prevent over-crowding. Each plant needs enough space in order to successfully produce fruit. As you remove excess plants, you will likely notice several tiny weeds sprouting up in the soil left behind. This is the perfect time for your final herbicide application - you don’t want those weeds to get any larger.
After this, your pumpkin plants should be able to grow large enough to outcompete any weeds all on their own!
Always Pick Bright and Sunny Days
Whichever stage you’re at when it comes to applying your herbicide for pumpkins, always try to do this when the weather has been dry for a few days. Most herbicides work best on bright and sunny afternoons.
Don’t be tempted to apply a herbicide before or after a rainfall. The rain will only wash your herbicide away. Even where it doesn’t, it will end up diluting the formula to such an extent that it won’t have any effect.
Wind is another factor to take into consideration if you are using a chemical herbicide. While those who go for organic won’t really need to worry about this, strong winds can carry chemicals to nearby plants, which could end up harming your pumpkin crop.
How to Apply a Herbicide Around Pumpkin Plants?
Some herbicides for pumpkins will need to be diluted with water, while others don’t, so always check the label before use.
Ideally, you’ll be using a spray herbicide, so just set the trigger to the desired spray type and then point this directly at the weeds you are targeting. Cover the leaves of each weed, but don’t be tempted to spray into the ground. As mentioned above, you don’t want to end up harming the soil, and therefore your pumpkins.
Take care to ensure that the herbicide doesn’t end up touching the foliage of any other plants. You will usually notice a herbicide for pumpkins taking effect after a day or two.
A herbicide for pumpkins could be a huge game-changer in your garden. If you’re constantly battling the weeds year after year, give this a try. Not only will it save you from having to do so much manual weeding, but it will also ensure healthier plants, meaning larger, heavier, and tastier pumpkins.