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Dying tree and shrubs

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Sooners, Aug 31, 2003.

  1. Sooners

    Sooners LawnSite Member
    Posts: 190

    I have a lady who thinks I killed her pear tree and shrubs. I sprayed Round-up within 2 feet of the tree trunk and 3 feet of the shrubs. I've never had problems killing anything I didn't aim at. I noticed that there were a lot of crawdad holes close to the tree and shrubs and the soil obviously has bad drainage as that area remained wet throughout this spring. I really think they receive too much water this spring. The tree is dead and the shrubs have turned yellow? Any input?
  2. How long after you spayed did you hear about the problem?
    Maybe coincidence, maybe not.
    Is she looking for $? How much $ might be involved.
    I would get some tissue for an analysis and bring in someone competent to diagnose tree problems.
  3. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,268

    Pear Tree.....This was a bad year for fireblight on pear here in new jersey. Take a picture of tree and bring a branch with some living tissue to your cooperative extension office for inspection.
    They will be able to find cause of death.

    Roundup has no activity in the soil and has a half life in soil of about 5 days. If it was new roundup dry be careful.....it has diquat added for quick kill... But diquat has a soil half life over 100 days and it is active in the soil and can harm non-target plants.
  4. Sooners

    Sooners LawnSite Member
    Posts: 190

    She mentioned the tree cost $50. I sprayed the grass in Feb. & May (prior to planting sod) and heard about the dead tree in July. The leaves were brown and the twigs snapped off dead. I actually used a Round-up clone called Eraser (same ingredients and % listed on reg. Roundup). I spray this same stuff inches away from shrubs with no effect. The shrubs next to the tree that are turning yellow make me think it's too much water.
  5. ChickensDoo

    ChickensDoo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 108

    Take samples of the tree and the shrubs to your local extension agency, as heritage suggested. It won't hurt to have a state agency on your side, when you are trying to convince your customer that you did not harm her landscape plants.

    Sounds like there is another problem, like excessive moisture. Did you check the fruit tree for borers? Borers take out alot of pears and plums in our area.

    From a common sense standpoint, how could the chemicals kill a large tree, but only make smaller shrubs sick?

    Take a photo, gather the samples, and go to the extension. Be confident that you did not cause the damage, and you will be providing the homeowner with the probable causes of damage and possible remedies.

    Good luck.....
  6. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041


    "Fire blight is a destructive bacterial disease of apples and pears that kills blossoms, shoots, limbs, and, sometimes, entire trees. The disease is generally common throughout the mid-Atlantic region although outbreaks are typically very erratic, causing severe losses in some orchards in some years and little or no significant damage in others."

    More info here.
  7. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,268

    You said your customer paid $50 fot the pear tree? Is it a new planting? If so check the depth of the root collar height relationship to the ground level. (it should be 2-4 inches above ground level) If the soil has been really wet and has poor drainage as well, and the plant was planted too deep then the plant drowned. Plants get oxygen from their upper roots. Wet soils cause Anaerobic (without oxygen) soil conditions which do not support healthy plant growth.

    Sometimes rather than improve drainage, contractors will plant high in wet conditions......but if planted normal or low in anaerobic soils....forget it.


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