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Help! Recovering after yard was rounduped by the helpful neighbor!  RSS feed

 
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So I moved into a new place in July; the yard hasn't been tended in some time and the neighbor, tired of all of the stuff getting into her yard, hit it with Roundup shortly before I moved in. It's also overrun with ailanthus.
A bout with search engines has brought me to lots of articles about how roundup is terrible. This is less than helpful.
I'm trying to decide what to do. I need ideas, resources, links....I'll take anything.
 
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Corey Collier wrote: I need ideas,



Consider it a blessing, a clean slate, sort-of.  Rake up the dead stuff and reseed with a grass blend suited for the climate. 

As for glyphosate toxicity, that has more to do with exposure to the chemical when applying it.  Sure, traces are found in food but you aren't eating the grass, I hope.

Not a big deal IMO.  You might even thank the neighbor

Turtle
 
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Here's a link to another thread here on this site. I don't think they specifically mentioned the herbicide your talking about; but I think there might be something in it for you. I'd be uncomfortable growing food in that soil but I'd say that if you wait a month or so after application that you could grow a lawn there. It probably depends on how much was applied, which you'd have to guess

If it were me I think I'd plant a test patch with the same seed I'd plant the lawn with. Penn State mix here in PA. The rye grass in that mix will sprout in a week. If it sprouted I'd go ahead and replant the lawn. If you're in the south or south west ignore my grass types and plant what's appropriate where you are. I'd cover the seed with about an inch of mushroom manure. Some people use peat which can be found in most parts of the country, but I never liked it because it so dry that when it rains on it the stuff floats away. People also use straw to cover the seed with. I've tried to get that out of the lawn after the grass is growing. I can tell you that lawn ain't gonna be very pretty.

 
pollinator
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Hey Corey, and welcome to permies :)

First off, I wouldn't be too concerned with a single spraying. It's when it's used repeatedly overtime that problems may occur.

Just for reference, but nature is pretty resilient. In the vast cleared fields here, caragana, willows and sage all have been sprayed for decades and built up an immunity to the roundup the farmers use. I only say this to show the fact that despite the grass&soil have roundup residue on them, you will still be able to grow plants there no problemo.

As Keith mentioned, the amount of glyphosate are in amounts that won't do any harm to you.

Edit*
 
gardener
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Corey Collier wrote:So I moved into a new place in July; the yard hasn't been tended in some time and the neighbor, tired of all of the stuff getting into her yard, hit it with Roundup shortly before I moved in. It's also overrun with ailanthus.
A bout with search engines has brought me to lots of articles about how roundup is terrible. This is less than helpful.
I'm trying to decide what to do. I need ideas, resources, links....I'll take anything.



It is time to talk to the neighbor and find out; 1. how concentrated a spray she used.  2. how much did she apply  3. how many times did she apply.
Contrary to many peoples ideas about this particular chemical, it is much worse than any of the hype you have read or heard about. This is a carcinogen, the World Health Organization has labeled it a "Probable Carcinogen" (meaning it really is but we aren't in a  position to be blatant about it because of politics).
This particular chemical has been found to remain in non remediated soils for up to 7 years (the current length of the study). The chemical also does not break down without remediation. There is a current ongoing study of post application uptake by plants and the effects of eating those plants by mice (we can't use humans obviously but the proper choice if we could would be the chemists that published the false reports and the Monsanto people who push it).

The European Union has banned this chemical from use.

I recommend you get some oyster mushroom spawn and inoculate the soil, starting along the fence/ property line. The hyphae will spread from this inoculation and do a good job of cleaning up the contamination.
Grass will grow as will many other plants, it really does go killing inert upon touching the soil (the molecule forms weak bonds with several different minerals which is how it "goes inert").

If you ever see your neighbor spraying the stuff again, stay indoors or wear a respirator if you have to go outside while and immediately after she uses the sprayer, no sense in taking the chance of coming down with Hodgkin lymphoma.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Yes, definitely take precautions. I would speak to the neighbour soonest, not only to find out the particulars of the spraying, but also to make sure she doesn't do it again.

She might actually think she's doing you a favour. You can't do anything about what she does over the property line, but if she is a regular sprayer, I would consider perhaps an impermeable barrier along the fence line to cut down on the stuff making it into your soil with water moving from her property, if the space isn't too large. I think perhaps that a regular application of an oyster mushroom slurry along that property boundary might be a good idea, along with additions of wood chips and other organic media on which they can thrive, and a slow-drip soaker hose to keep the soil conditions optimally moist for fungal growth.

As to the ailanthus, my sincerest condolences. Chop them all down. Get rid of it all. I suggest that if you intend to mulch with or bury it, that you allow the cut material to dry somewhere it won't sprout. I don't know if they will spread from cut lumber, but I know that the root system pushes shoots out aggressively after the tree is damaged or cut.

They are shade-averse. Shading them out is really the only way to manage them, along with mechanical removal before they go to seed. This is a good read for your purposes.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

-CK
 
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Oh man, that sucks.

Chemical ick aside, the fact that the neighbour felt they had the right to go onto another's property and change things is a huge warning bell for me.  That's a huge violation and it might be good to sit down and have a talk with them about what they used and how you value your sovereignty.  Either that or build a huge fence and get a llama or flock of geese.  In my case, we went for both.

It seems very blase to say we are exposed to this kind of toxin with every meal.  But it is a big deal and thankfully one of the best ways to reduce the damage is to increase the health of the soil. There's some good advice in this thread already.

I've had trouble with the "organic" straw I added to my no-till experiments being contaminated with a persistent herbicide.  It's been nearly four years now and we are just starting to get weeds growing again.  I know your pain when someone breaks their trust like this.  But one can heal the damage by building healthy soil.  Maybe a dense line of trees between you and the neighbour would help reduce drift if they choose to chemical again.

 
Chris Kott
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I had a thought regarding the acceleration of remediation in areas plagued by persistent pesticides.

As living root systems do the best job of supporting the soil life web that remediates contaminated soil, would it not be prudent, in a case where the weeds won't grow yet, to seek out seed pods of weed species you desire that are thriving in or around the edge of heavily contaminated, often-sprayed spaces like ditches and conventional ag fields?

The idea is this: those weeds thriving where they shouldn't are descendants of the 0.1% or whatever it is that aren't killed each year. Every year, the sprayed survivors that go to seed are breeding up roundup ready versions of themselves. Why not go get those roundup resistant pioneer plants out of the ditches and plant them where their immunity does some good for remediation?

And the big question: would it work to accelerate the process?
 
raven ranson
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The thing that's helped the most with my pesticide problem was the sheep's old hay.  This is full of manure and urine, as well as grass seeds.  We just piled it up last spring with plans to spread it around this winter.  Squash seeds in the hay (we feed the sheep squash for parasite control - don't know if it works, but they like it) grew without any effort from us like water.  A few hawkweed in the contaminated bits, but squash growing in the straw piles.  It's the first sign of recovery which is promising. 
 
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I have eaten alot of food that had roundup sprayed on the soil, year after year, I think decade after decade.
And I am relatively fine, I think.

So I wouldn't be too worried about the past actions.
What I would however do if talk to the neighbor and let them know that going forward you will keep the fence line tidy and they don't have to spray roundup.
Esp the day before you go picking your raspberry, without you even knowing that they did in fact spray some roundup.

As for possible help.
1) Haul the plant matter to a dumpster
2) Haul the soil away to a dumpster
3) Grow some oyster mushroom and then remove the fruiting body, woodchip, soil and mycelium
4) I think the USDA organic certification board requires you to wait 3yrs, not counting 1 time accident like this one.
 
Corey Collier
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Wow, thank you all so much! There are so many threads here I wasn't sure if anyone would notice. This is my first time posting on permies.com (though not my first time getting helpful information from the forums) so many thanks for the warm welcome.

A couple notes about the yard:
I'm a renter in one of those situations where the landlord does the bare legal minimum and doesn't care what you do as long as you pay rent and don't burn the place down. This has pros and cons--the biggest Pro is that I have a free hand with the yard. I can do whatever I want. And for the record I despise lawns. Absolutely have no use for them whatsoever.
The Con is that the landlord hasn't had anyone come out to do anything with the yard for who know how long, so the neighbor has been dealing with a completely untended patch populated by some shady renters who occcasionally emerge for a smoke. So she took matters into her own hands. I don't blame her too much, just for being ignorant. I only moved in in July, this is what I walked into.

It's a small yard in a small city in CA, about halfway between sacramento and redding. Lots of sun, strips and corners of shade, a couple of landscapy shrubs, a bamboo fence on one side, wooden stockade style on the other. Arid and unreasonably hot in summer, rainy and chilly in "winter," not much of a transitory season. Lots of nuts right now. Chris Kott, thanks for the advice and condolences.

 
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Spraying your yard is trespassing.  I would talk to my neighbor and explain the legal ramifications of spraying my yard again, as well as the size of the lawsuits currently cropping up against the makers of Round Up.  Then I would put signs every few feet along my property line, alternately saying "No trespassing" and "No spraying - chemical trespassers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law".
 
pollinator
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For communicating with neighbors, I think it's worth having several lines of action at the ready.  I'd want someone to spell out a whole plan of minimum escalation so that.I can just act on it, since in the thick of the situation I'd have too many emotions and doubts to feel comfortable about coming up with a plan.

First, bake them cookies and bring them over and ask if you can sit down and talk about something.

1--say thank you so much for going out of your way to help, but the way you did it is actually something I really, really prefer you not do.  It may seem strange to you, but if you but it's like if your kid had a favorite old teddy bear that was really beat up and I went over and threw it away, thinking I was helping.  Or if you were a vegetarian and I made you a potroast.  So I appreciate that you wanted to help, and that you don't want to look at an overgrown lawn too, but are you cool with not doing that on my yard? 

If they say yes and ask you why you don't use the spray, thank them.  And you have an opening to share about potential toxicity to humans and persistent detriment to the garden you want to grow.  You may be able to convince them that they're endangering their own body and family members by spraying.

2 If they say yes and don't ask, then you at least can probably trust they won't spray your yard again.

3 If they insist on not respecting your choices and will spray in your yard if they damn well please, inform them you'll involve the law, and follow through on that.
If you're not up to following through on that, better not to.


That's my two cents.

As for remediation, I don't have anything to add but "ask nature."
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Chris Kott wrote:I had a thought regarding the acceleration of remediation in areas plagued by persistent pesticides.

As living root systems do the best job of supporting the soil life web that remediates contaminated soil, would it not be prudent, in a case where the weeds won't grow yet, to seek out seed pods of weed species you desire that are thriving in or around the edge of heavily contaminated, often-sprayed spaces like ditches and conventional ag fields?

The idea is this: those weeds thriving where they shouldn't are descendants of the 0.1% or whatever it is that aren't killed each year. Every year, the sprayed survivors that go to seed are breeding up roundup ready versions of themselves. Why not go get those roundup resistant pioneer plants out of the ditches and plant them where their immunity does some good for remediation?

And the big question: would it work to accelerate the process?



This would depend on how comfortable you are breeding a resistant strain of what ever "weed" it happens to be. What you are describing Chris is exactly how we have managed to create highly resistant strains of bacteria through the inept use of antibiotics.
This however won't directly accelerate the remediation process because that process is interdependent upon bacteria, fungi, amoeba, nematodes and other microorganisms all building their microbiota world and thriving.
While root systems can help with the overall soil health by increasing the ability for water infiltration and air exchange, the roots are more of a third stepping stone in this particular scenario in that the roots aren't really necessary for the process to proceed at any pace.
If you increase the bacteria and fungi, the other microorganisms will increase because of the increase of food supply, so the only fungi that would really benefit from more roots would be the mycorrhizae, which are not actually part of the remediation battalion.

Good thinking though and I love the question since it shows a working brain in motion.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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My first step would be to become friendly with the neighbors & ask them nicely to stop applying pesticides & herbicides on your property, your food, your animals, & your home. Doesn't sound like that will be difficult since you will be taking care of it now. Second step would be to follow the other excellent advice already provided above. Mother Nature & time will eventually clear it up.

Some states have laws specifically to help protect bees from spraying. Those laws are oriented more toward large sprays from big agencies but it might be worth pursuing bees just to give the neighbor a little more reason to stop & think first.

Be aware that glyphosates are not the only bad guys. There are also neonicotinoids. Those too are slowly becoming ineffective as well as banned. The name escapes me but they have the next iteration of products coming right up:(

Perhaps the neighbor is simply unaware of how toxic these chemicals are. It might be worth printing out some informative info for the neighbors to read. Plenty of that available online.

It's not nice to kill pollinators.

Good info & a nifty sign.

This requires some effort but it will let people know you are SERIOUS.

 
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