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A chemical used to kill or inhibit the growth of plants, exspecially weeds. Historically, sea salts, waste manufacturing products, and oils were used as weed killers. In the late 19th century, additional materials such as carbon disulfide, borax, pyridine, mercurials, and arsenic trioxide were used to target weeds. By 1945, synthetic organic herbicides were developed which required very low dosage treatments. Weed killers are categorized as preplant, preemergence, and postemergence. Examples include amitrole, picloram, 2,4-D, DDT, atrazine, glyphosate, diquat, and paraquat. Many herbicides do not decompose and have created long-term hazards to the environment.

Synonyms and Related Terms

weed killer

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: "herbicide" Encyclopædia Britannica [Accessed September 3, 2002].