Bits and Pieces from Stanton

Using Vinegar as Weed Control? Read This

We received an interesting call from a nursery who had been visited by the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) Pesticide Regulation division. The nursery was using off the shelf vinegar (8%) to control weeds. MDA cited the misuse of this material. The nursery manager contacted me with a copy of the 2005 EPA document that listed Active Ingredients Eligible for Minimum Risk Pesticide Products. The EPA listed active ingredients that are exempt, which included vinegar.

I asked Ed Crow, who used to be with MDA and is now the pesticide information educator in Pennsylvania, whether this product needed a label or not. Even though it is on the exemption list, a company must still register it with EPA if it is being used as pesticide. It would need an EPA registration number, directions for use, and safety information. Vinegar sold for human consumption is one thing, but when you start using it as herbicide it must be registered with EPA, and safety rules and precautions followed. In Maryland, all materials used as pesticides must be registered with the state chemist. You can visit the MDA website and see which materials are registered with the state chemist.

Fleischman Company has labeled a 20% vinegar with an EPA label and a Maryland State Chemist registration, and it is sold under the name Vinagreen Vinegar. The proper use directions on the label recommend wearing eye protection, and covering the skin since this is an acid material.

The takeaway: commercial growers, homeowners, and landscapers in any state cannot legally use grocery store vinegar to kill weeds, even though vinegar is exempted as an active ingredient.

Long-flowering Sunflower from Syngenta

At this summer’s Cultivate trade show in Columbus, Ohio, Syngenta was showing off its new sunflower called ‘Sunfinity’. The plants were loaded with blooms. They claim it will continue to flower through the summer into the fall. If this is so it would be an interesting small size sunflower for customers with sunny landscapes. The display plants certainly looked good. I obtained seed from Syngenta to trial this plant out for next spring. Besides looking good, I suspect it will be a good pollen source for pollinators. With its summer-long flower display all it could also prove to be a very good cut flower. Some of our Maryland greenhouse growers commented that it has very few leaves, and looks ugly in a pot. I called Will Healy of Ball Seed Company to get his comments. He said that when planted in a mass planting it looks great, and it does flower most of the summer. As cut flower growers why would you care if it has small foliage as long as the flower display is great for sales?

Bug Zappers Made Popular Again

The Zika virus problem is rising up again in South America and the press is picking up on the mosquitoes issue and how people should control them. Proctor and Gamble is releasing Zevo, an indoor trap for flying insects, including mosquitoes, gnats and moths. You plug it in like the electric room freshener devices that were so popular a couple of years ago. It emits a combination of UV and blue light that attracts insects, which get hung up on stick cartridges. They sell for under $15 and replacement cartridges are just under $6 each. The replaceable cartridge is supposed to last at least 45 days. It is attractive looking from the outside and the blue light it emits is rather pleasing. I am sure it will be a big hit but not sure how many actual mosquitoes it will catch, especially inside the typical house that keeps it doors and windows shut. At press time, this product was sold out at

Stanton Gill

Extension Specialist

Stanton Gill is an extension specialist (professor-ranked principal agent) in IPM and entomology with the University of Maryland Extension, based at the Central Maryland Research and Education Center in Ellicott City. He is also a professor in the Landscape Technology Program at the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College. Contact him at [email protected]