Washington Post cites Birthisel in article on Roundup alternatives

The Washington Post cited expertise by Sonja Birthisel, a postdoctoral scholar of weed ecology at the University of Maine, in the article “Whether or not Roundup is safe, the gardener has better options.” More than 18,000 plaintiffs are suing Monsanto, the maker of the herbicide Roundup, alleging cancers related to the product, while the company insists Roundup is not carcinogenic, according to the Post. Regardless of the controversy, “reaching for a herbicide is treating a symptom, not the disease,” and herbicides often are not necessary for home gardeners in most situations, the article states. The article suggested alternative strategies for discouraging weeds, including solarization — covering an entire area with a plastic sheet to trap the sun’s rays and kill established weeds underneath. Birthisel said two weeks should be enough to kill most annual weeds, but perennials like yellow nutsedge could take as long as 12 weeks. She said drawbacks of the approach are that plastic is environmentally unfriendly, and the method is “ugly.” It also can harm microbes in the soil, but they will come back, Birthisel said. The Telegraph published the Post article.