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How organic is your garden?

  • Subject: [cg] How organic is your garden?
  • From: Stephanie Hankerson <hank@usfamily.net>
  • Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 12:58:00 -0600

>From: "Jim Call" <jimcall@casagarden.com>
>Subject: [cg] How organic is your garden?
>Please give me your views on my tainted-with-chemicals leaf mulch problem or
>any other organic discussion and/or advice.
>                          Best regards,  Jim Call,

Jim, these 2  emails were recently shared amongst Master Gardeners in MN. 
Check out the web citation for series of photos of plant distress due to 
low levels of herbicides--yes, it does raise interesting questions about 
organic status of those using mulch or compost tainted with herbicides.....
Steph Hankerson
St. Paul MN

Roger Becker, Weed Specialist comments on herbicide contaminated
Subject: Re: [Fwd: [Mastgar] Herbicide contamination advisory]

This pyridine group, picloram, triclopyr, clopyralid could all be
suspect. I would add triclopyr to the list, esp. for compost that may be
used to grow woody species. I think the reports seems well written and
factual and will be a growing issue with more of these products being used
in many markets. There has always been a livestock "clean out" clause on
the labels where the material could cause problems through manure or when
moved to new grazing areas. Plant residue from treated sites could likely
be equally troublesome which now includes treated lawns. Generally, less
picloram used here than in the west but quite a bit of triclopyr and
clopyralid around.
Does this help?
Roger Becker
Professor, Extension Agronomist - Weed Scientist
Dept. of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, and
Dept. of Horticultural Science
University of Minnesota

 >Subject: [Mastgar] Herbicide contamination advisory
 >Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2001 15:18:58 -0500

(WSU = Washington State University)
Laast year, the WSU Compost Facility found residues of the
herbicide picloram in finished compost. The chemical persisted
throughout the composting process having entered the facility as a residue
on livestock bedding or manure from animals fed forage from fields treated
with the herbicide. Plants that have been seeded or transplanted more
than 12 months after the application of the contaminated compost have
shown picloram injury.
  Generally, annual broadleaf plants are most greatly affected by
  picloram, but seedling grasses and woody plants may also be affected
  particularly where large amounts of compost were used or the picloram was
  present at high concentrations. To date, this incident has cost WSU over
  $250,000 in testing, damages, and lost sales. More recently, the Spokane
  municipal compost facility has also been unable to sell compost without
  use restrictions due to residues of another herbicide, clopyralid, which
  is suspected to have entered that facility as a residue on grass clippings.
  The WSU Compost Team would like to make WSU extension
personnel, particularly those working with gardeners, high value crops, or
the nursery industry, aware of the potential for herbicide contamination
in compost to avoid future problems.
  Currently, the two compounds of greatest concern are picloram
  (contained in the herbicide products Tordon 101, Tordon 22k, and Grazon
  P+D) and clopyralid (contained in the herbicide products Battleship,
  Confront, Curtail, Curtail M, Lesco Momentum Premium, Lontrel, Redeem
  R&P, Riverdale Millennium Ultra Selective, Riverdale Trupower Selective,
  Spring Valley Weed & Feed with Millennium Ultra, Stinger, Transline, and
  United Hort Supply Chaser Ultra).
  Picloram and clopyralid are degraded slowly by microbial activity
  and are not metabolized by animals when ingested with feed. These
  chemicals will pass through the animal and be excreted in urine and
  feces. Using plant materials treated with clopyralid or picloram or
  manure from animals fed forage treated with these chemicals as
compost or mulch is forbidden on the herbicide label. <snip>
  Private citizens who compost or use vegetative materials for
mulch should become familiar with the herbicide active ingredient that
they or their lawn care company are applying. For a detailed
discussion of this problem, go to the Compost web site at
<http://css.wsu.edu/compost/>http://css.wsu.edu/compost/ and click on
"latest news."

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