Summer is the season of growth. Unfortunately, however, it’s not all flowers and sunshine. Weeds are a common nuisance that affects lawns and flower beds across the country. While everyone likes to have a beautiful, weed-free lawn, it’s important to keep in mind of the potential, often permanent damage herbicides can cause your valuable trees. That’s why the certified arborist at Westcoast Tree Care would like to provide you with the following tips to help protect your trees from herbicide exposure.
Exposure to Herbicides
Drift or Volatilization
When an herbicide is applied, the slightest breeze can cause it to drift onto nearby trees and plants causing irreversible damage. Even worse, some herbicides can volatilize (evaporate and disperse) after application causing it to cloud onto nearby trees. In fact, many herbicides can be just as dangerous as liquid sprays. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that herbicides are more likely to volatilize when temperatures rise above 80 degrees.
Leaching or Runoff
Many herbicides are active in the soil, meaning they can kill or injure nearby trees when roots come into contact with these harmful chemicals. Most injuries are due to the runoff and leaching of herbicides from the original site of application to the root zone of another tree or plant.
Using the wrong herbicide, applying more than the recommended amount, or applying it at the wrong time can cause tree injury and death. Misapplication can also result from the use of a sprayer that’s contaminated with small amounts of herbicide.
Herbicide damage can often occur when contaminated materials such as compost, mulch, soil, manure or fertilizer are used around susceptible trees. When obtaining these materials, it’s important to make sure they come from an herbicide-free source.
Preventative Tree Care Tips
#1. Make sure to read and follow the label directions on all chemicals and only apply the recommended amount. Never use soil sterilants and keep an eye out for phrases like “extended control” or “kills weeds for up to one year.” Long-lasting herbicides can be especially damaging to trees.
#2. Use the right herbicide. Take the time to identify your weeds and choose a selective herbicide. To avoid potential tree damage, it’s important to avoid products that contain chemicals in the phenoxy class. There are plenty of other classes of herbicides that have less potential to affect the roots of nearby trees.
#3. Apply herbicides properly and never spray when it is windy. Herbicides can drift with even the slightest of breeze. To help reduce drift, make sure to lower the sprayer pressure and keep the nozzle close to the ground while spraying targeted areas. Also, it’s important to never apply soil-active herbicides where water run-off could carry the chemical to nearby trees and plants.
#4. Know the source of the materials you use in your lawn and garden. If the soil, mulch or manure has been treated with active herbicides, it’s important not to use it.
Hire a Tree Care Professional
At Westcoast Tree Care, we help homeowners in Corvallis, Oregon make educated decisions to avoid costly mistakes. We care about the health and beauty of your trees. Our ISA Certified Arborist will walk your property, listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have about our preventative tree care services. Contact us at 1-800-767-8733.