Ask a Question forum: Weed killer in compost pile

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Ponchatoula, Louisiana
TK66
Jun 13, 2017 7:20 PM CST
Hi! Several weeks ago I made myself a compost pile in a small area in my backyard with the intention of planting vegetables in it. Well, today, my dad forgot that it was a compost pile and dumped weed killer on it. I'm not sure how much he dumped on it or which weed killer it was, as I wasn't there at the time. So now I have two questions:

1. Will I have to throw my entire compost pile out? If not, how do you salvage it?

2. If my compost pile is salvageable, then how long will I have to wait to use it again?
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jun 13, 2017 9:13 PM CST
If it was a glyphosate (RoundUp) type herbicide, the compost should be okay to use. Give it a couple of weeks. Many broad leaf herbicides, on the other hand, act through the soil and may persist for months. You need to find out what it was.
Porkpal
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
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sallyg
Jun 14, 2017 5:32 AM CST
You could test by planting something easy and cheap, like bean seeds, in some of it. Or cantaloupe, or tomatoes, if those sprout, grow, then you know it's OK.

I used sweet potato slips to test manure and see if it would burn the roots.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
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sooby
Jun 14, 2017 8:27 AM CST
Welcome!

The questions are not possible to answer without knowing which herbicide it was. If you can ask him and let us know that would help. Otherwise you can do what Sally suggested and try something quick to germinate and then make sure growth is normal after three weeks or so.

There's a page showing the procedure for clopyralid (one of the group of herbicides that can be persistent in compost and damaging to certain plants at low levels) here. They use peas and there are pictures at the bottom of the page to help evaluate:
https://puyallup.wsu.edu/soils...
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
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Bonehead
Jun 14, 2017 8:39 AM CST
I have a similar issue. My mailbox is on the opposite side of the road as our house. I had planted a daylily, iris, and mountain bluet at the base a couple years ago, all of which were doing fine with no particular attention (random pulling of long grass, no extra water). Neighbor Dave (aka Mr. Poison) opted for scorched earth this year and sprayed the entire drainage ditch (which empties into a salmon bearing creek), the narrow grass edging that I have usually kept mown, and the back side of the ditch up to his field fence with Roundup. He now has a neat and tidy row of scraggly brown remains at the edge of his property. There is no sense to talking with him, he routinely Roundsup his vegetable patch then offers me produce (uh, thanks Dave, but no). I'd like to replant my mailbox foot but am unclear how long I should wait until his poison has dissipated.

P.S. For this very reason, I only plant 'extras' from my own garden - there is always a daylily or iris ready for division. Maybe this time I'll give it a rock border and dumbo will leave it alone.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Jun 14, 2017 8:48 AM CST
If it is the original Roundup, which is glyphosate, you can replant more or less immediately, it is not soil active. Since some people use the term "Roundup" as a generic word for herbicide, I'd have to wonder if it was something other than glyphosate and might contain a soil active ingredient.

Edited to add planting info from Scott's for glyphosate Roundup : "After 1 day: flowers, trees, shrubs After 3 days: lawn grasses, herbs, vegetables or fruits".
[Last edited by sooby - Jun 14, 2017 8:57 AM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
Dragonflies Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers
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Bonehead
Jun 14, 2017 9:08 AM CST
His poison of choice seems to be Roundup from conversations we've had. This guy once came over to our place while we were gone and sprayed our driveway with some sick concoction of used boat oil and gawd knows what else, thinking he was doing us a favor. Go figure. I bit my tongue and politely asked him to never ever do that again. Sheesh. But...gotta get along with the neighbors, weird as they can be.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Ponchatoula, Louisiana
TK66
Jun 14, 2017 9:13 AM CST
Hi! Thanks for the replies everyone. I just found out that it was Bayer Advanced 3 in 1 weed & feed for southern lawns. From what I'm reading on the package, it's a broadleaf herbicide that lasts up to 6 months. So I guess I won't be able to use my compost pile until December, which sucks. Oh well.
[Last edited by TK66 - Jun 14, 2017 9:14 AM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Jun 14, 2017 9:35 AM CST
TK66, that's unfortunate, it does contain a soil active herbicide. But the duration of its effects may be different in compost as opposed to in soil. My suggestion would be to call Bayer, there'll be a toll free phone number on the package/label, and ask them how long it is likely to last in compost.

Deb, this is one of the problems with product names, there are formulations of Roundup that contain other herbicides besides glyphosate.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Beavers
Dragonflies Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers
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Bonehead
Jun 14, 2017 9:40 AM CST
I'll wait until fall to replant anyway, so by then hopefully the soil will have recovered. I can tell by watching the grass recolonize. Perhaps if I keep up on my mowing of his shoulder, he will stop spraying. Highly doubtful, but one can always hope...
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jun 14, 2017 11:18 AM CST
Bonehead said:Neighbor Dave (aka Mr. Poison) opted for scorched earth this year and sprayed the entire drainage with Roundup.
He now has a neat and tidy row of scraggly brown remains at the edge of his property.


Can't these people 'see' how bad those dying plants make the property look?

I tried showing someone the erosion gully issue they were creating...

The lady seems to prefer having a gully to having plants!

What's wrong with these idiots?


Edit:
You know...
If they can call the law on us for digging out useless ugly turf.... And planting beautiful flowers and vegetables, why can't we call the law on them destroying the watershed?
[Last edited by stone - Jun 14, 2017 11:22 AM (+)]
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Ponchatoula, Louisiana
TK66
Jun 14, 2017 11:29 AM CST
Sooby, thanks for the suggestion to call them. I called Bayer Advanced and the guy on the phone said that my compost was done for and that I shouldn't use it. Guess I'm going to have to start all over. From now on I think I'll hide the weed killer from my dad.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Jun 14, 2017 1:08 PM CST
TK66 said:Sooby, thanks for the suggestion to call them. I called Bayer Advanced and the guy on the phone said that my compost was done for and that I shouldn't use it. Guess I'm going to have to start all over. From now on I think I'll hide the weed killer from my dad.


Sighing! very unfortunate. Definitely sounds like a good idea to hide it from him!

Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jun 14, 2017 3:49 PM CST
66 : It's classic case of CYA/CTA.
Who ? Dosent, cover there ass !!!
Butt ! If it doesent rince out clean of mulch pile or dirt, in a year !
They would call it a soil sterilizer wouldn't they ?
I wouldn't use or plant edibles, butt, ordamentals, your not going to eat ! What the hay !
😎😎😎

Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Jun 14, 2017 4:30 PM CST
>> Deb, this is one of the problems with product names, there are formulations of Roundup that contain other herbicides besides glyphosate.

I agree. In Home Depot, I often see gallon jugs with "ROUNDUP" in bright bold letters over an inch tall. If you have good eyesight, pushy your nose flat against the label and squint, you can see the fine print "with XYZ, ABC and LSMFT".

The "other" ingredients (highly toxic and some persistent) might as well be called the active ingredients and the glyphosphate a filler or diluent.

Unthinking or careless buyers see the big cheery word "ROUNDUP" and conclude "it must be safe".

Then the highly toxic, persistent ingredients make it "effective", so they come back and buy more until they drop dead like any wildlife downstream from them.

There's more TRUE INFORMATION in one square inch of fine print than in square FEET of advertising deceit.

Too bad we can't make marketing directors DRINK a cup of anything they label misleadingly.
Sell tickets and contribute the proceeds to environmental monitoring.

Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jun 14, 2017 5:11 PM CST
I will have to check that out now. I've used RoundUp for many years, but more recently there is a RoundUp+ that advertises that weeds won't come back. Be very careful to read labels thoroughly before buying. I always buy the concentrate and mix as needed because of the cost. Since their patent has expired, several others (Ortho comes to mind)have jumped in, so just because it is Glysophate doesn't mean it is safe.
David, I had a supervisor who was supposed to be training us on pesticide use actually tell the class you could drink that stuff. He was one of those that believed in "render the ground sterile". I don't think he gave any more classes after that. Whistling
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jun 14, 2017 6:17 PM CST
I actually had a horse that did drink a glyphosate herbicide. I watched him carefully for some time - no detectable ill effects.
Porkpal
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jun 15, 2017 9:11 AM CST
If i didnt hear it from you, Porkpal, i wouldn't belive it. Maybe, the horse had some worms, he wanted to get rid of.
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Jun 15, 2017 9:52 AM CST
TK66-
I also think that was somewhat of a CYA answer from Bayer. But I guess it's best to set that compost aside, and start new. Eventually, test that 'bad' batch by putting it on some less valued real estate. Even f it goes to lawn. Arguably, improving lawn soil is as important as garden soil even if it isn't that much fun for many of us.

porkpal's horse gives us a reminder that a chemical that is toxic in certain situations is not universally toxic. Ask the slug , about to be salted from the same shaker that I used on my radish.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Jun 15, 2017 12:04 PM CST
Sally Howdy 😁
You mean. Like you can give your dog an aspirin, to make him feel better, but ! If you give your cat a piece of one, it'll kill em !

If ya had 4 bellies, full of grass !
I think herbicide would kill the grass, and make it easier to digest. Or maybe in Mister Ed's case ? It killed the loco weed, Ed, didn't want to get crazy from !!!
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.

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