I know I am going to make a lot of people very unhappy, and specifically I am speaking about those good people over at Dow AgroSciences. I may even tick off a few gardeners, but those will just be the gardeners who are not keeping informed with what is going on in the gardening world, and how people's gardens are being completely ruined all around the world.
By the way, if anything happens to me in the near future, you might want to have a look at Dow Chemical Company as I know this posting is going to ruffle a lot of feathers over there.
The billionaires over at Dow AgroSciences and their parent company Dow Chemical Companies have single-handedly destroyed the natural organic practice of using manure and straw on gardens at least for the foreseeable future. GrazonNext HL herbicide was considered a Godsend to farmers with hay fields to control their broadleaf weeds that affect the quality of their hay and straw.
GrazonNext HL contains a very persistent herbicide called Aminopyralid which is extremely effective on broadleaf weeds. The reason they named it Grazon is that a farmer can spray it on his field, and then immediately allow his cattle to graze on the grass that was sprayed.
Unfortunately it is also very effective on all broadleaf plants as well, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, lettuce, beans, etc. One of the few plants in your garden that it will not affect is corn because it is not a broadleaf plant. And since it is a "persistent herbicide", that means it is extremely long-lasting.
For instance, if a farmer were to spray GrazonNext HL on their hay field, then they sell that hay to a cattle farmer to feed his cattle or to a horse rancher to feed his horses with. They eat the hay and it gets processed and digested in their digestive systems and comes out the other end as manure. They then collect the manure up to compost it and sell it as finished compost the following year.
You then want to add nutrients to your garden, and want to be as organic as you can, so you buy some of that finished manure compost to use in your garden so that you are giving your plants the very best nutrients that you can.
Then you plant your tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, and such and care for them as your garden begins to grow. You begin to have a good feeling as you watch your young plants growing knowing that you will soon be harvesting lots of wonderfully nutritious food for your family.
Then one day as your plants begin to get taller you notice that the newer leaves do not look right. They have a twisted and deformed look to them instead of the leaves looking healthy like the plants lower leaves are.
What has happened is that the plant has taken up enough of the aminopyralid up into the plant that has now started to affect the cell structure of the plant. GrazonNext HL does not immediately kill the broadleaf plant, but it affects the growth of the plant causing it to become deformed so that it dies.
The aminopyralid is so persistent that it made it through the growing process of the hay. It made it through the digestive system of the animals that ate it, with up to four stomaches. It made it through the high heat of the composting process. It also made it through the aging process of the manure. If you decided to add it into your own compost bin and compost it once again, it will still make it through the compost cycle again.
Here is the very first page of the labeling for GrazonNext HL directly from Dow AgroSciences website:
Lets take a closer look at two specific section on this label. First take a look at the highlighted area on the lefthand side of the label:
Now, lets take a look at the pictogram on the right hand side of the label. Notice the photos of what can and can not be done with grass and hay treated with the product:
If you want to read it for yourself, you can download it right here.
Right now, we have no idea exactly how long this stuff will wreck your gardens for. We do know that if the manure, straw, and affected plants are removed from the garden, it will linger in the soil ready to kill future gardens for at least 2 more years.
The only way to know if it is still in your soil, or if it is finally safe for you to plant another garden is for you to have a test done on the soil which is extremely expensive. Or, you can sacrifice a few plants each year watching how long it takes until you finally have one that lasts through to fruiting without having deformed leaves.
People have even had their gardens wrecked by aminopyralid from commercially bagged manure and compost that they purchased at big-box home improvement stores. I know at least one person who picked up a whole truck load of compost at a city-run composting center who lost his entire garden from aminopyralid herbicide that was in the compost that he used.
There is absolutely no way for you to know for sure if the compost, hay, or straw has aminopyralid herbicide in it or not. The people you are getting the compost from will more than likely not even know, and if they did, would they really tell you? Remember, this is supposed to be a safe Godsend of a product from a reliable company, surely there is nothing in their compost that would harm you or your garden. Don't get me started on Dow Chemicals and their abuse to humanity and farmers around the world. That is for another time.
It is no longer safe to use any manure, straw, or compost which comes from off-site because you just do not know if Grazon was sprayed onto the grass that is in it or not. Always produce your own compost on-site for your garden so that you can control exactly what is in the compost and you know that nothing in it will harm your plants. Otherwise just forget about trying to be organic and just use chemical fertilizers and soil amendments. If you use treated compost, hay or star, you will not have a garden at all for the next two years. It's just not with chancing it.
Until Next Time,
Aloha & 73