The Q&A Archives: Would A Gas Meter Possibly Cause Shrubs To Die?

Question: I have a gas meter on the west side of my home. For years I have tried planting shrubs or azaleas near it and NOTHING will live within 10 feet of it. My house is trimmed quite nicely on all the other sides but this side is so bare.
Do you have any suggestions as to plants that may survive here? Its full sun and I don't detect any gas leak but it makes me wonder. Grass grows here just fine-just no shrubs.
Thank you.
Brigitte Langston

Answer: It certainly sounds suspicious, doesn't it. Plants vary in their sensitivity to a gas leak, but it is true that a gas leak can kill plants. You might ask the gas company to do some checks in that area with their special gas sensors, possibly digging and checking along the line. You might also ask them if they might have used a long term herbicide in that area to prevent say tree roots from encroaching on the gas line. It is also possible that "something happened" such as a spill of some kind, or after excavation the soil was replaced in such a way that the subsoil is at the surface, or a bag of concrete mix was spilled, or some other unusual occurrence while they were installing the line underground so that the soil in that area is different. Your county extension might be able to suggest some soil tests to try to determine if there is a way to counter any possible soil problem and neighbors or the builder might remember if anything unusual happened in that location.

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