It’s that time of year again. Plants are emerging from the depths of winter and the garden is filling with spring flowers. But, along with all this wonderful new growth comes the arrival of that dreaded lawn weed – the bindi. A badly infested lawn can be impossible to negotiate with bare feet so what can be done to prevent or minimise the pain and tears?
Commercial bindi sprays contain two main herbicides: Dicamba and MCPA, both of which are corrosive to skin, harmful to humans if swallowed and if splashed or wiped into the eye cause serious eye damage/irritation (Choice, 2015; Yates, 2015).
It’s not just humans who can be affected by these chemicals. Dicamba and MCPA are also recognised as toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects. It follows too, that household pets could also be at risk of poisoning by ingesting sprayed grass.
So how can you minimise the risks?
• Store the spray in a secure place out of reach of children
• Wear a mask when spraying to avoid breathing in the mist
• Don’t spray on a windy day!
• Wear protective gloves and clothing to avoid skin contact
• Keep your pets and children out of the area until the leaves have dried
• If skin contact occurs, immediately wash the area with cold water.
• Call the POISON INFORMATION HOTLINE on 131126 if accidentally swallowed
Ecologically friendly and cheaper removal options do exist. You can extract bindis manually with a screwdriver or pour a simple mixture of vinegar, dishwashing liquid and salt on them.
My advice – try your natural options first. Use commercial sprays as a last resort and with extreme care. Finally, set your mower to a higher grass length setting to provide competition for bindis in future.
Enjoy a prickle and toxic free summer!
Written by Sally Postma
Choice. (2015, 18 August 2017). Choice-Dicamba-500-Herbicide. Retrieved from http://growchoice.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Choice-Dicamba-500-April-2015.pdf
Yates. (2015). Retrieved from YATES_BINDII___CLOVER_WEEDER-AUS_GHS%20(1).pdf