The Q&A Archives: Birch Tree Concern

Question: About a month ago, I used Vigoro Fertilizer Weed and Feed on my lawn. Now I notice that the birch tree in the middle of the lawn I fertilized has leaves dying. Do you think the leaves are dying because of the Weed & Feed I used on the lawn? If so, what would you suggest I do to ensure that I don't kill the tree? Any information you can supply will most certainly be appreciated. Robert Foote

Answer: I just examined the MSDS (material safety data sheet) for Vigoro Weed and Feed. It lists the herbicide 2,4-D, which is a broadleaf weed killer. Unfortunately, the chemical cannot differentiate between a broadleaf weed and a broadleaf tree. If you applied the product at the proper rate, it should not have a great effect on your birch tree, but if you overapplied or if the roots of the tree are close to the soil surface, an application of 2,4-D could have an adverse effect, at least on the leaves. I would hold off on using a broadleaf weed killer until your tree recovers, and even after I would be careful with these kinds of products near the root zone of the tree.

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