Ask a Question forum: diatomaceous earth

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Blue Ridge, GA
LFmarie
May 7, 2018 11:48 PM CST
Hello,
Can anyone give me advice about diatomaceous earth. I used the wrong kind, not food safe! I am hoping I can still remove the section of soil and just start over. It was a huge ant pile. I planted some peppers next to it but not directly in it. Any thoughts on how to handle this.

Thanks
UK
Starfishmomma
May 7, 2018 11:55 PM CST
Food grade is to do with consuming the stuff - you don't need food grade to put on soil. It's the same with bicarbonate of soda, there's food grade and you can get a coarser type that isn't food grade, which I think is only for cleaning or other purposes.
Blue Ridge, GA
LFmarie
May 8, 2018 12:00 AM CST
So does that mean it is ok for the garden?
UK
Starfishmomma
May 8, 2018 9:03 AM CST
The non-food grade DE has been processed and changes something in the particles but it's essentially the same for pest control as it scratches them and they dehydrate. Whether or not some of the chemical/s produced in making pool grade DE are bad for plants when they take it up in water is something I don't know. I don't think it's necessary to remove the soil, perhaps just rake away the surface that's sprinkled with DE before watering, to be on the safe side until you find out for sure. Also, you might need to wear a mask to prevent breathing in the DE.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 8, 2018 9:08 AM CST
Why are you using DE? Just curious.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Kyle
Middle TN (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses Ferns
Hostas Foliage Fan Bromeliad Heucheras Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds
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quercusnut
May 11, 2018 10:33 PM CST
WillC said:Why are you using DE? Just curious.


I think she was trying to get rid of ants. She put it next to an anthill.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
May 11, 2018 11:07 PM CST
Diatoms are micro-organisms found in oceans. If I recall correctly, they have tiny shells. The shells interfere with the joints of many small insects and clog them (like sand in machinery). Diatomacheous earth is often used to reduce small insect pests.
UK
Starfishmomma
May 12, 2018 3:51 AM CST
There's food and non-food quality DE. The OP used the non-food grade DE as pest control but now worries if the quality she used would affect the health of her plants and/or the health of those eating them. That is how I understand it, anyway.
[Last edited by Starfishmomma - May 12, 2018 3:52 AM (+)]
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