A cleaner and safer herbicide will control weeds on campus this spring.

The NAU’s Grounds Department found a way to replace toxic weed killer with a gentler yet effective way to keep flora flourishing and weeds at bay. The new product, Deadeye, will replace the previously used synthetic weed killer during a campus-wide test beginning this month.

“We hope that Deadeye will be effective enough to permanently replace Roundup for weed control around buildings, sidewalks and the many rock and granite areas,” said Robert Chavez, director of operations for Capital Assets. “We also hope to support a trial of a natural non-toxic corn gluten product to control weeds in campus lawns.”

Chavez said the use of Deadeye is a result of an ad hoc Faculty Senate committee chaired by Marcus Ford to propose ways of ending the use of synthetic herbicides on campus because of their link with human disease.

“Recent studies also show Environmental Protection Agency designated ‘safe’ levels of synthetic herbicides can inflict serious harm on the ecosystem when multiple products combine in runoff water,” Chavez added.

To keep the trials of herbicide alternatives in place during tough budget times, the Wilbur Ellis Co. in Tempe, an international marketer and distributor of agricultural and industrial products, contributed more than 70 gallons of concentrated Deadeye for the trial.

Deadeye contains vinegar, salt and water. Because the EPA considers it safe, it is exempt from its regulations and the Grounds Department doesn’t have to post public notices when spraying the product.