The Q&A Archives: Vandalized Plants

Question: If a product such as Round-up is sprinkled on a plant, will they recover? 7 Magic Carpet Spirea turned brown in sections/then all leaves fell off. I cut them totally down & the stalks don't appear totally dead. Also, Japanese Maple & Purple Smokehouse Bush leafs turning brown in sections? Should I prune the whole stalks or will they be okay & grow back leafs on these stalks?

Answer: Round Up is a non-selective contact herbicide. Any plant it touches can be killed, but the dose is what will determine the fate of your plants. Overspray or drift will damage the plant parts it touches. Full spray of the entire plant will probably kill the plant because the chemical is designed to be transported down to the roots of the plant where it will effectively kill the roots. The good new is that Round Up does not move in the soil and the product degrades in the presence of sunlight and fresh air. So at this point I would simply leave the affected plants alone. Pruning them back while they are trying to recover from the chemical is like adding insult to injury. Just give the plants a few weeks to react to the herbicide. By then the chemical will have degraded and you will have a better idea of the damage each plant has suffered. When you see healthy new growth from anywhere on the plant you'll know it has recovered (or not) and you can then make your pruning cuts. Hope your plants recover!

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