Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Backyard chemicals: don’t let this happen to you




A recent incident in my garden in which a lemon tree received a concentrated does of orange oil because I did not read the label was still fresh in my mind when I saw these stories. The lemon tree dropped most of its leaves, but is recovering nicely.

Do you know where your chemicals went?

. . .Problems with the herbicide emerged late last year, when some commercial potato growers reported damaged crops. In response, Dow launched a campaign within the agriculture industry to ensure that farmers were aware of how the products should be used. Nevertheless, the herbicide has now entered the food chain. Those affected are demanding an investigation and a ban on the product. They say they have been given no definitive answer as to whether other produce on their gardens and allotments is safe to eat.

It appears that the contamination came from grass treated 12 months ago. Experts say the grass was probably made into silage, then fed to cattle during the winter months. The herbicide remained present in the silage, passed through the animal and into manure that was later sold. Horses fed on hay that had been treated could also be a channel. . . [read more Home grown veg ruined by toxic fertilizer]

Did you know temperature greatly effects many chemicals you use?

. . .Up to 10 per cent of New Zealand’s export cymbidium orchids worth several million dollars and bound for Asia, Europe and the United States have been destroyed by a new insecticide imported last September.
. . .
Failure to provide adequate spraying instructions appears to be the problem, rather than the insecticide itself, which is widely used in Europe.

It is understood growers were not told the spray should be used only in cool months nor the impact of dense spraying, particularly in hot temperatures. Crops most severely affected were sprayed in summer.

Though the amount of millilitres per 100 litres on the insecticide label is 20 per cent higher than recommended in the Netherlands, the main issues were the hot temperatures and the density of spray per square metre. . . .
[ read more Millions of orchids lost in spray botch]

And sometimes it is an evil plot

Sir Richard Tucker, for years one of the country’s most senior judges, is heading for court in a row with his former gardener over poisoned plants.

The retired High Court judge, who presided over famous cases including the Polly Peck fraud trial, became embroiled in controversy after a verge and flower borders were allegedly sabotaged at his Cotswolds home.

Police charged his former gardener with causing £500 worth of criminal damage to the garden, with the case set for full trial in August. . . .[ read more Gardener accused of poisoning former judges plants ]

Read the label. Even if you are busy and think you know what you are using. Then do a bit of extra research. Some times not everything is on the label, as the Dutch orchid growers will tell you.