Caught a whiff of vinegar while out in your local park? You weren’t imagining it.
A selection of local parks across Auckland were included in a three-month trial with Auckland Council maintenance contractors working to determine the value of vinegar as a natural, more environmentally friendly weed control option.
The product being tested is a bio-herbicide that uses a combination of acetic and citric acids. The mixture prevents normal photosynthesis of the target plant by removing the protective layer of the leaf, which is essential in retaining water. Without that water, the plant can’t obtain nutrients or continue its lifecycle.
The natural product might be a better choice where chemical-based weed killers can’t be used, with the trial designed to answer a simple question – does it work?
Initial findings have been positive, with a definite reduction in weed growth.
Maunakiekie-Tamāki Local Board supported the trial in its area and Chair Maria Meredith says it would be a welcome addition.
“We are hopeful it will be a good solution to weed control in and around playgrounds.”
Currently, contractors remove weeds manually on playground surfaces. This works reasonably well on bark surfaces, but not on synthetic ones such as rubber tiles because only the top of the plant can be removed, leaving the root systems to continue to grow. That means the plants eventually separate rubber tiles or create surface movement that can result in constant maintenance or early surface renewal.
Auckland Council does not perform any spraying in playgrounds, but it is hoped the use of the vinegar-based product could safely enhance the efficiency of manual control.