The Q&A Archives: Vegetation Killer Harmful to Plum Tree?

Question: Earlier this spring my husband used Crossbow vegetation killer to eliminate the suckers growing from our plum trees. Well...the trees all flowered normally and are producing an abundance of plums, but there are some wilted leaves on the trees. I am wondering if the trees are just sick and with time the Crossbow will eventually work it's way out of the trees, or are they severely poisoned? Also, is it safe to eat the plums this year?
My husband is a pretty thorough guy and I am sure he did more than a little spraying. Any help would be appreciated.

Answer: The active ingredients in Crossbow include Triclopyr, a growth inhibiting herbicide for control of woody and broadleaf perennial weeds, and 2,4-D, which is a salt based amine ester for use against annual and perennial broadleaf weeds. Crossbow is not registered for use on or near plum trees, or any other crop, for that matter. It's possible that the herbicide has affected the tree through translocation from the suckers to the roots. It's also possible that your tree has developed a disease called Brown Rot (it's fairly common on plum and cherry trees). Since Crossbow is not registered for use on plums, there isn't any documentation available as to whether or not residues will be found in the fruit. My guess is that it's possible for traces to be found throughout the tissues of the tree. For a positive diagnosis of the wilting leaves on your tree, take a sample to your local Cooperative Extension office. You'll find some helpful folks at Oregon State University Extension Service, Fourth & Lyons, Albany, OR 97321. Phone (541) 967-3871.

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