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weed spray effects.

 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1447
Location: Vancouver Island
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We moved into this house in 2007. a few years later we planted some trees, apple, pear and hazel nut. The apple and nut in the front and the pear in the back. The pear seems to be growing and getting taller, we had two pears last year. The two in the front have not really grown and while green, have had no fruit though the apple has blossomed. I have noticed very few dandelions and when I tried to move a rhubarb plant it died. last fall and this spring the "weed man" has been very pushy and persistent on the phone and at the door where I told them I did not want any of their chemicals near my property.

I am realizing though, that this property was sprayed just before we bought it and would account for all the above problems.

The weed man did spray all the yards where they were allowed and I have noticed that my bumble bee population is about 1/10 what it was last year when my flowers where humming...

The good news is that I have more dandelions this year than any time so far. Clover also seems to be making a comeback. So maybe there is some hope for my trees too. Time will tell.

Do my plants absorb the chemicals? Can I use grass/weed cuttings for mulch? or should I get rid of them as a way of cleaning things up?

After the weed man there came the fertilizer man followed by the aerator man I guess once all the nitrogen fixing plants are gone fertilizer is needed... and when the worms are dead we need to poke holes in the ground.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9424
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Yes, the plants absorb the chemicals but many chemicals are broken down to inert components by bacteria and fungi in healthy active soil, so it may take a few years of diligent mulching and composting to bring the soil to life again, after which things should do fine. I think things will be okay.

 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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If no chemicals have been applied in over 5 years since you moved in, it is highly unlikely that any significant toxicity remains, imo.
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
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Location: Vancouver Island
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Yes, the plants absorb the chemicals but many chemicals are broken down to inert components by bacteria and fungi in healthy active soil, so it may take a few years of diligent mulching and composting to bring the soil to life again, after which things should do fine. I think things will be okay.


Nick Garbarino wrote:If no chemicals have been applied in over 5 years since you moved in, it is highly unlikely that any significant toxicity remains, imo.


Ok, so chop and drop should be fine then. I'll concentrate my mulch around the trees (I don't have that much).

It is funny, the ads at the bottom of this page that I see are:

"Insecticide Spray, A unique two-way systemic control of sucking insect pests in crops. (BayerCropScience.ca/Movento)"

And...

"The Monsanto Advantage, Effective weed control, More concentrated than Vantage (www.roundup.ca)"

Glad to be wasting their advertising dollars... and using them to support permies.
 
Rose Pinder
Posts: 408
Location: Otago, New Zealand
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What's happening in your soil? What's the quality like, and are there live things in there?

I tend to agree that after five years it's unlikely to be a direct pesticide issue, but it depends on what they sprayed. Can you find out? However if the spraying disrupted the soil life, it might not have recovered yet.
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
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forest garden goat trees
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Could it be spray drift when they are treating the neighbouring land?
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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Len, You haven't mentioned anything about your soil. Is it mulched well? Do you prevent it from drying out? A good organic mulching and composting program will create a resilient microherd in only a few weeks, and plants will thrive. A strong microherd also breaks down chemical residues, and the more robust it is, the faster it breaks down toxins in the environment, and the more capable it is at preventing toxic effects from drift.
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1447
Location: Vancouver Island
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Nick Garbarino wrote:Len, You haven't mentioned anything about your soil. Is it mulched well? Do you prevent it from drying out? A good organic mulching and composting program will create a resilient microherd in only a few weeks, and plants will thrive. A strong microherd also breaks down chemical residues, and the more robust it is, the faster it breaks down toxins in the environment, and the more capable it is at preventing toxic effects from drift.


I've just started mulching the trees. When I planted them I used as much composted soil as I could find. Under and around the root ball. I will keep adding stuff and maybe widen my circle around the tree of mulch too. Right now it is the size of the tree, I think I will make it the size I want the tree to be

The soil is not deep, clay is not far down, not solid clay, but yellow dirt like. I just dug a hole in the lawn and planted... does it sound like I don't know what I'm doing? I don't. My interest in growing food is quite new. As I have started to understand how bad our food chain is.

The good news is that things look better this year than they have in the past. I am learning, but most of what I know at this point is what I have read and I need experience... and this year my spare time has been put on hold so I will do less than last.

I just found it interesting how this spraying and some of the other things I have seen (the bee population is really down a lot, I am surprised I have any apples.)

Anyway, I will continue adding mulch as I find it... And make a bigger circle with it too. Thanks for all the answers and advice from everyone.
 
Nick Garbarino
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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The good news is that things look better this year than they have in the past.


That's a sure sign that you're doing the right things. Usually what happens is once you start to see improvement, the rate of improvement increases. Next year will be better, and the following year even better. Each plant has its own needs regarding sun, water, soil pH, and soil fertility, and some do better with certain companion plants. Some plants actually prefer infertile soil. It's so much easier now than when I started gardening 40 years ago, because you can find out exactly what any plant needs for free on the internet.

Because you have clay not far down, you may need to either build raised beds, hugelkultur beds, double dig, or just be patient and let earthworms work your mulch down into the clay. The problem with shallow clay is it can cause soggy roots, and most plants cannot take soggy roots, aka wet feet.

Some plants like wet feet, such as canna lily, for example. One key point in permaculture is to try to grow plants that like the conditions that you happen to have at your location. The more you can do that, the less you have to modify your conditions.

We're all guilty of not being patient enough when it comes to gardening. I catch myself doing it all the time. That's one of the things you will learn as you gain more experience. I'm still learning it. Keep up the good work!
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Anyway, I will continue adding mulch as I find it... And make a bigger circle with it too.


That is an excellent idea. Most trees will send shallow feeder roots out to and beyond their drip lines.
If you can add compost and mulch to where they will be in the next few years, they will find an inviting environment to grow into.
You will be building hospitable soil before they get to it. This will speed up their growth and maturity.

If you can grow plants between their current, and future drip lies, their roots will help loosen the soil and add organic matter. Using native plants will encourage (and feed) native pollinators.

Not knowing where on Vancouver Is. you are located, I don't know which of the two major ecoregions pertain to you (actually, they both may, due to micro-climates), but here are two links to the general descriptions. (These actually are for western WA, but these regions extend beyond that man made line on the map).

If you are at sea level to +/- 460 metres: http://www.fs.fed.us/colormap/ecoreg1_provinces.conf?62,76
If you are 460 - 1500m: http://www.fs.fed.us/colormap/ecoreg1_provinces.conf?52,50

As far as native plants/pollinators go, these two guides should help you get a good start:
Pacific Lowland Mixed Forest
Cascade Mixed Forest

For some good CA sources of info, you might enjoy these sites (click around the various links and options)

CA Ecozones

http://atlas.nrcan.gc.ca/site/english/index.html
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1447
Location: Vancouver Island
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John Polk wrote:
Not knowing where on Vancouver Is. you are located, I don't know which of the two major ecoregions pertain to you (actually, they both may, due to micro-climates), but here are two links to the general descriptions. (These actually are for western WA, but these regions extend beyond that man made line on the map).


I am in the Comox Valley, no more than a few hundred feet above sealevel.


If you are at sea level to +/- 460 metres: http://www.fs.fed.us/colormap/ecoreg1_provinces.conf?62,76


+/- I sure hope not to be -


As far as native plants/pollinators go, these two guides should help you get a good start:
Pacific Lowland Mixed Forest
Cascade Mixed Forest


The major pollinator that I have seen are the various bumble bees. I have seen mason bees in number only one year since moving here, but admittedly they are harder to spot and have a short season so I could be missing them. honey bees are quite rare, at least feral ones, there are bee keepers around, but the nearest is more than a mile away.

Thank you for the URLs to look at.

 
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