Has Broad Leaf Weed Killer Ruined My Fire Bushes

ramblin_red_roseJune 27, 2010

I have (had) a beautiful fire bush hedge. Recently, my neighbours had their lawn sprayed by a professional with an "organic" Par III #27884 weed killer for broad leaf weeds. A week before this my husband fertilized with 6 inch fertilizer spikes purchased at a local gardening centre for bushes. He only used two per bush (one on each side.)

These fertilizer sticks were in for about a week, however, within 48 hours after the neighbours had their lawn sprayed the leaves on the fire bushes stared to wilt and go brown on the neighbourÂs side of the fire bushes.

Of course, being unknowledgeable about what could have possibly gone wrong the gentleman at the local gardening center indicated that leaf dropping so suddenly indicated that it could have been "too much of a good thing" meaning we over fertilized. This was perplexing because we had fertilized bushes before with these spikes with no problems.

My husband removed the fertilizer spikes and we have been watering the bushes to flush the any remaining fertilizer out of the ground and to try and help some of the bushes recover (it looks grim). However, I have the nagging suspicion that it was the spraying for the broad leaf weeds that has caused this problem.

What is the possibility that the weed killer has killed my beautiful hedge?


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Yes--you bet your bottom dollar, it is possible in fact probable. Weed killer is no respecter of what is planted and what is a weed. Organic weed killers are no better in this respect. The only difference is that it does not stay in the ground like the chemical ones. If it gets on a plant it will kill it as well as the weeds. Plainly they oversprayed on to your hedge.

Your garden center knows diddly squat. I've never heard of fertilizer doing that and it's amazing that it is only happening on the side that was sprayed. If it was anything else the whole bush would be affected.

This is what that compound contains.

Mecoprop-P, present as dimethylamine salt ..................100 g a.e./L
2,4-D, present as dimethylamine salt ............................190 g a.e./L
Dicamba, present as dimethylamine salt .........................18 g a.e./L

Do a little homework and then go after the company that did the spraying

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 9:14AM
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no way it can be those fertilizer spikes. I use them too. These are slow release types and so there shouldn't have been any risk of fertilizer burns.

You have to suspect the weedkillers. I'm afraid herbicides have a way of staying active for a long time. You will need to contact the manufacturer's website to see what antidotes are recommended. Take photos of the damage as evidence - especially the one showing where the initial damage was noticed.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 11:23AM
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I expect it has moved into the roots by now as it's been a couple of weeks. They were lush and beautiful one day and within 24 hours they were wilting on the neighbour's side and now some bushes are totally brown and others have tufts of leaves randomly situated on our side of the lot.

These were special order "older" bushes we had brought in from Quebec so that they'd have a head start and ensure a nice hedge quickly.

Heart broken because they were so beautiful. I should add that there is life in the bark and it does appear green under the rough wood.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 3:04PM
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Rose, does the neighbor have any other shrubs in his/her yard that's also dying from the application?

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 6:53PM
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Ironically, last year prior to planting of our hedge the same company came in and did their lawn.

They lost a whack of nice bushes and plants in the front of their house to a "bug". At the time I can remember being perplexed to what type of bug would cause that much damage so quickly.

The spray weed killer has been discussed with the neighbour and now they have suspicions about their plants the prior year that they lost.

If the weeds must be controlled we have all agreed on using the granual type stuff if necessary. I'm not keen to use it, but I do have to add that they didn't need it done at all either times they had it done in the past.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 4:16AM
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You may have to launch a complaint to that company for the losses you incurred. They should at least be aware of rhe damages they caused.

Ontario is no longer using herbicides and pesticides for lawn care. However I can tell you that before the implementation of this ban, my neighbor used a certain granular application which does kill off their weeds and it didn't affect my shrubs.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 12:15PM
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From the postal code listed on your first post I can see you are probably in the New Glasgow area of N.S. I know that in the Halifax Regional Municipality where I live many such herbicide are banned and also know that the province has either adopted the policy or will. You may look into that tangent as well.

I have to agree with everyone that the application on the neighbour's property is the culprit. All the best in resolving the issue.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 6:01PM
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Buddy "weed killer" came and looked at our bushes and indicated that it wasn't his fault because the damage was "too high". Unsure what he meant by that because by the time he got to see the damage nearly all the bushes had had their leaves shrivel, turn dry and drop. We cleaned the bushes as much as possible now most of them look like skeletons.

I donÂt doubt for a second that the weed killer killed them. Of course he isnÂt going to admit that it was his fault because it would cost him to replace it.

There are tufts of green on some of them and I am pretty sure they will not last through our winter. We can try to keep them watered, but how can they possibly survive?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 7:37AM
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Ha! He must think he can feed you any line. Too High??? what does that mean?

Anyway, I did locate some additional information for you. See for yourself.

Here is a link that might be useful: PAr III

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 8:29AM
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"There are tufts of green on some of them..." You might yet be able to salvage them. I would keep watering and hope for the best. I am saying this for the reason that we introduced a Fire Bush to our property a few years ago. Late in spring, all of a sudden, all the leaves would fall off, but after a couple of weeks they would start coming back. We never knew why it did this, but after two years of scaring me, it finally grew normally.

You might like to try something else. Soak the root zone with tepid water mixed with pure soap (Not detergent). Use one bucket per shrub/root zone. The soap apparently contains phosphate which will strengthen the root system. At the same time it may kill grubs which will attack a weak root system.
My mother, now 85, swears by this every time she sees one of her newly planted shrubs faltering. I've 'rescued' many end of season shrubs by planting them and doing the soaking with the soap a couple of times.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 7:21PM
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What would be considered pure soap. The old blocks of yellow Sunlight soap for laundery?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 7:39AM
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Good Grief! I mean laundry.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 9:49AM
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madtripper(5/6 Guelph)

@ Rose
The sprayed product is not organic.

If the chemical is sprayed correctly, there should be very little getting onto bushes. I can spray Roundup right next to short plants and if done carefully there is no damage to them. however, if the person spraying lifts the spray head too high or the pressure is too high the spray will drift. Also, I only spray on days where there is no wind. A wind can easily move the spray onto plants that should not be sprayed.

Not sure what you mean by 'Fire Bush' but if you are talking about Euonymus alatus , then there is a good chance they will survive - these things are weeds.

@ Oilpainter
the statement " The only difference [between organic and inorganic] is that it [organic] does not stay in the ground like the chemical ones" is incorrect. Being organic has nothing to do with how long it takes to break down.

@ Tiffy

With no leaves, the roots will not be very active and are not likely to take up the Phosphate. Having enough phophaste aaround when the plant does start growing may be of some help, but then most soils have enough phosphate and you do not need to add more. If you do want to add Phosphate you would be better to use a soluable fertilizer than soap.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 8:46PM
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