Roundup around base of apple trees

glenn_russell(6b RI)April 14, 2010

Hi all-

I know this has been talked about before, and I think I know the answer, but I just want to be sure before I do it for the first time...

It's OK for me to spray RoundUp around the trunk of my little apple trees, correct? The trees are whips that were planted last year and I have grass growing inside and through my little hardware cloth cridder-prevention cages. (You can see a couple pics in my "My Page") The trees are leafing out quite well at the moment. The danger here is getting the RoundUp on the leaves, correct? Getting it on the bark won't do any damage, right? I just need to make extra sure there are no little leaves around the trunk, right? And make sure it's not a windy day, right?

Thanks in advance,

-Glenn

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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

No, it's not safe. Young trees have thin bark. the weedkiller gets through just fine.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 12:22AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Think you got the idea, I have never use roundup in the orchard, have used
in the nursery between rows and I'm all-way's afraid getting some leaves,
if you do, strip that leave from the branch. I try hard not to use it
and want to be chemical free because I keep honey bees,...can only be
good for the environment.
Not sure what round up would do if it would be sprayed on injured wood, like hail damage etc.

Konrad

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 12:22AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

It was said "Not sure what round up would do if it would be sprayed on injured wood, like hail damage etc.?

That would equal an open door through which the weed killer would be absorbed.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 2:14AM
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thomis(7)

I use it at least three times a year to keep weeds in check around my young apple trees. I use the black corrugated drainage pipe cut into 18" pieces and put them around the trunks of trees to prevent rabbit and other critters from girdling. (see my pics) This pipe genrally keeps it off the trunks but I have splashed a little on them here and there with no apparent damage. The bark usually does it's job.

Roundup and other similar weed killers that use glyphosate breaks down in the soil and becomes harmless to critters. Regardless of what the green folks say, it is not a dangerous chemical.

this is taken from the attached website link:

"Essentially, the conflict revolved around the use of Roundup Ready canola, a new special line of GM plants released by the agrochemical company Monsanto. This particular canola was designed to be resistant to the herbicide Roundup which is chemically based on a compound known as glyphosate, also produced by Monsanto. When Roundup is sprayed on undesired weeds, glysophate penetrates inside the plant cells and works to block the activity of an enzyme called EPSPS. This enzyme is involved in the synthesis of certain amino acids that are essential for plant protein production and therefore are crucial for growth and survival. In essence, the presence of glysophate rapidly leads to the death of the weed. Furthermore, one of the greatest advantages of this system is that EPSPS, the enzyme inhibited by glysophate, is present in plants and bacteria but not in animals. As a result, the Roundup herbicide is harmless to any human or wild animal that may consume it. In fact, because of its efficiency and its specificity, Roundup is one of the most widely approved herbicides around the world [3]."

Here is a link that might be useful: The Science Creative Quarterly Issue 4, 2009

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 9:02AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Glenn:

I think you are playing with fire here. It is not safe on the bark of small apples. It's not safe on the leaves. And it takes very little wind to get some on the trees. I think the only safe way is if you completely cover the trees, like with a 5 gal bucket until the spray dries.

If you try it use the lowest pressure possible. This will limit drift. But be prepared for damage or death. I sprayed young apples last year and nearly killed some. Didn't think I got any on them.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 9:13AM
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brookw_gw

Glenn, If they're only second year trees and there aren't that many, I'd just weed by hand or I'd use a paint brush to apply the Roundup on the weeds to avoid getting it on the trunk. I also use Roundup on the OUTSIDE of my mulch to make mowing easier and to prevent grass from spreading to the inside.

Brook

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:04AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

OK guys, you've convinced me. It's not worth the risk. Back to pulling out the grass by hand. Thanks for the help! -Glenn

Thomas- Yep, It looks like this is an advantage of your black pipe over my hardware cloth cages.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:20AM
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tradergordo(6B)

I should take some pictures, but what I do is very easy and more effective than round up. Just put down corrugated cardboard all around your trees (you can get it for free from any cardboard recycling bin, check small appliance stores, trash pick up areas, etc). Then dump a little compost on top of the cardboard so it looks nice. Boom, no more weeds. The trees love it, water passes though it, its free, the worms LOVE it, it keeps the roots of the tree from drying out, its all natural (the glue in most corrugated cardboard is nothing more than corn starch, even the dye is generally soy, the paper is pine, it all breaks down over a two year period when you can redo it (this process even feeds the tree a bit).

Round up is devastating to toads by the way. Toads keep your trees healthy by eating grubs and other insect pests that would otherwise be damaging your tree.

And if you want to know how I protect the fruit - its described here:
http://gordosoft.com/orchard/bagging.htm

Here is a link that might be useful: Fruit Bagging

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:31AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Hi Tradergordo-
Yep, cardboard is another alternative. I haven't gotten to that point yet, but perhaps I will at some point.
I too bag my fruit, but that's a nice link. Thanks for that.
-Glenn

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:41AM
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backyardener(z6 Idaho)

Glenn, a trick I learned from the vineyard guys is to cut a piece of PVC pipe in half lengthwise and use it for a shield. If there is no wind and you use some kind of shield, you should be fine. I've never damaged anything with this method.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 1:33PM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Another good idea indeed.

Another thing I could do would be to put some roundup on a small brush and paint it on.

Thanks,
-Glenn

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 1:35PM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

I was going to suggest painting the roundup with a brush. I just cut some dish washing sponge into strips, tape it to a long bamboo stick and use it to paint the weeds. Discard after use. This is all I do as I am too much of a chicken to spray around my trees. 7 years ago, my neighbor sprayed his side of his yard (there is a wood fence and 5 ft between my fruit trees and the spray area) and after a couple of weeks 3 of my fruit trees died. Ever since, I am too scared to use any herbicide in spray format.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 2:08PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Glenn,

I posted this link before, but the folks at MSU indicate latex paint also provides a barrier to glyphosate. They don't recommend glyphosate apps before third leaf on apples, but commercial spray equiment is much less precise than what you'd be using.

Here is a link that might be useful: Glyphosate damage in apple and cherry orchards

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 2:37PM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Thanks Olpea... that's good to know about not being recommended until 3rd leaf. This is only their second. Thanks,
-Glenn

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 4:00PM
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marknmt

You can put on a pair of latex gloves and pour a couple of tablespoons of roundup into a bowl- apply with gloved fingers directly to leaves.

Don't lick your fingers afterwards!

:-)M

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 4:22PM
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djofnelson(7ACtrlVAfoothills)

Glenn, AM Leonard sells a couple of rolling applicators with shields. Below is the link for one. They also sell one called a Weedball and used to stock a cheaper type that was basically a sponge on a hollow stick. I've got the cheap one and would probably go with the more expensive one below for doing a continuous circle.

Here is a link that might be useful: sideswipe application

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 8:47PM
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bberry_gw

Smuckers Red Weeder is a very precise application tool. You won't have to worry about the leaves or bark on your young trees. All poisons should be used with care and according to their labels.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 9:15PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

These wipe-on deals aren't fool proof. If you wipe full strength or strong roundup on weeds and the weeds flop over onto the tree, you could still get damage. If you're talking tall grass right next to the tree, I still think it is dangerous.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:18PM
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charleney(8a PNW)

Oh yeah! USE THE CARDBOARD!!! I have even used 5 to 8 layers of newspapers. You can also put fertilizer like horse manure under paper. Then put bark, or compost on top of papers. I do all my gardening this way. No weeds! Did I say no weeds. But not much use for round up around trees. Promise you will try the newspaper/cardboard right over the grass, and watch out for the well fed trees. Do it on one tree and you will be amazed. just make sure u tile the papers or cardboard to overlap so that no blade of grass can be exposed to sunlight. The neighbors won't even know unless you tell them. Good Luck

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:42PM
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djofnelson(7ACtrlVAfoothills)

Maybe weedwack with trunk protectors on the tree (or hand cut if too close to trunk) to leave a few inches of the weed and then swipe to avoid accidental contact? I'd agree with fruitnut and still hand pull right next to the trunk. However, based on the pictures I've seen of your yard, Glenn, I doubt you've got weeds next to the trunk...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 10:01AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Hi All-
I'd been having problems with posting pics all day... but finally got it resolved with a software re-install. Here is where I was considering spraying Roundup. You can see how the grass gets inside the hardware cloth making it difficult to hand weed. So, if I do decide to use it, I'll put it on with a sponge or something like that. I've got 5 trees just like this, and another 7 in a similar predicament. Thanks for everyone's responses. -Glenn

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 10:42PM
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mr.ed

To close for my tastes, from the pic I would just remove the mesh and pull them then remulch. Unless you have physical limitations; then there is always the grandkids or neighbors.

BTW; Granny Smith is susceptible to glucophosphate . More than most apple trees.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 5:26PM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

I would just reach in from the top and yank the grass. It is too close to be sprayed, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 11:02PM
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Michael

I like the name tags Glenn: a few more years and I may be able to remember which ones mine are :-)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 11:23PM
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sujiwan_gw

I like the idea of the cardboard and mulch. But, if you have voles, lots of 'em, like I do, then deep mulch barriers to keep down weeds can exacerbate the problem.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 7:59AM
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djofnelson(7ACtrlVAfoothills)

I stand corrected, Glenn. I've got a lot of that (your mulching is still much neater than mine, though). In my experience, that sort of grass right near the trunk (as opposed to rooted in the mulch) is really hard to get rid of by hand pulling b/c the roots rarely come out of my heavy red clay, even when it is moist. I'd probably hand pull a few times and, if it keeps coming back, wrap the trunk in a protective layer (aluminum foil or tree wrap?), cut the grass with scissors, and dab some diluted roundup on the cut ends with a Q-tip. I use cardboard further away from the trunk, but I don't think it would be a good idea or that effective to put the cardboard that close to the trunk.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 11:14AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Hi everyone. Just wanted to say "Thanks again" for all the responses and good input. If I do apply it, I'll do so with a brush or sponge. A trunk protector is another good idea. Thanks again. -Glenn

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 2:53PM
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athenainwi

Another way to safely apply Roundup is to cut off the top of a 2L soda bottle and attach that to the sprayer. That way you only spray the weeds inside the top end of the bottle and it doesn't drift. For your grass though, I'd probably pull it now and spray what comes back when it is still small. That way you shouldn't have any get onto the trunk.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 3:08PM
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garedneck

There are a couple different Round Up formulas which may or may not influence your decision. I was told to use the concentrate with the red cap (diquat sp. active ingredient) which will kill the plant of the folliage it touches vs. the purple cap Round Up which kills the plant of the folliage but also via the soil systemically kills plants. IF you are concerned about overspray keep an old spray bottle full of water handy to spray whatever leaves may have accidentally been sprayed with Round Up.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 9:09PM
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kansasapple(KS 5/6)

Hey gang - throwing in my 2 cents. We have a big problem with mice, voles etc. So we use pea gravel (playground rock) around the trees instead of plant material mulch. One great side effect is that when our trees sway in the wind the pea gravel will naturally fall into any gap created by our heavy Kansas winds. We've done this for 11 years with no further rodent damage at all and much reduced leaning problems. I plant white french clover beyond the gravel which provides nitrogen and only grows about 10 inches high so we never have to mow. Regular large pink clover provides nothing for the bees - too deep.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 1:03PM
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tradergordo(6B)

After looking at the picture, my opinion hasn't changed. Just cardboard it and throw some compost over the cardboard. You can cardboard RIGHT UP TO THE VERY TRUNK. No, you should never MULCH up to the trunk, but you can definitely CARDBOARD right up to the trunk. I do it myself and it works great.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 1:53PM
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