Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Herbicides don't compost

How do you react when you find out that something you thought was good and you've been doing it for several years, turns out to be bad?? As neighbors sacked up leaves and grass clippings, I smugly put mine on the compost pile. As the compost “matured”, it was spread over the garden and flower beds. I finished one pile this spring that had been “cooking” for 4-5 years. With an abundance of material, I put a 6 inch layer around the base of our young snowball bush early this spring. As it began to leaf-out it didn't look good, some of the buds just dried up and the blooms were just a shadow of what they should have been. I described this situation to my PhD Agronomist brother-in-law and was shocked at his prognosis. We have had our local Nursery apply all the lawn treatment chemicals and fertilizers for a number of years. His opinion is that the Crabgrass killing chemicals, etc. remain in the grass clippings and I overloaded the tolerable limit of the Snowball bush. He recommended using a mulching mower and recycling the chemicals right on the lawn. I have removed the compost, cut out the dead wood and plan to overwater the plant in hopes of leaching the damaging material below the root zone. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.  

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