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Contaminated soil amendments. Cecil Tharp, Montana State University Pesticide Education Program. Be aware of the various modes of pesticide movement into non-target areas: Read Environmental and Precautionary Statements!. Be Aware of Drift Grazing Intervals Re-crop restrictions

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Contaminated soil amendments

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Contaminated soil amendments

Contaminated soil amendments

Cecil Tharp, Montana State University

Pesticide Education Program

Contaminated soil amendments

Be aware of the various modes of pesticide movement into non-target areas: Read Environmental and Precautionary Statements!

  • Be Aware of Drift

  • Grazing Intervals

  • Re-crop restrictions

  • Pre-harvest intervals

  • Cutting restrictions

  • Composting restrictions

Non target toxicity towards beneficial plants on the rise

Non-target toxicity towards beneficial plants on the rise.

  • 2009 – 2011: 104 plant samples through Schutter Diagnostic Laboratory (31 counties*)

    • 81 (79%) samples: damage likely compost/manure/clippings

    • 23 (21%) samples: damage likely drift or treatment under or near woody (ornamental) plants

Top 5 counties

Top 5 Counties

  • Ravalli – 18 reports (includes injury complaints associated with manure/compost point contamination), Gallatin -16, Lewis and Clark – 9, Sweet Grass and Teton – 5 each, Flathead, Lake, Musselshell – 4 each

Understanding your pesticides persistence

Understanding your pesticides persistence

  • See the Mont-Guide titled: Minimizing Pesticide Contaminated soil around the Home and Garden: MSU Distribution (406-994-3273)

  • Understand Persistence

    • The ability of a pesticide to remain present and active in its original form for an extended period prior to breaking down.

      • Based on a pesticides ½ life.

      • Based on characteristics of soil

        • Aerobic or anaerobic

      • Long persistence  present at wrong sites

Contaminated soil amendments

Acie C. Waldron, Pesticides and Groundwater Contamination, Ohio State University

Extension Bulletin 820, 1992 available at <>.

Pesticides persistence is still dependent on many other factors

Pesticides Persistence is Still Dependent on many other Factors

  • Microbial Action - Process by which chemicals are degraded by bacteria or fungi

  • Photodegradation: the breakdown of chemicals by sunlight

  • Chemical Degradation:

    • Hydrolysis: The breakdown of chemicals with water increases in soils with a high pH.

    • If > 8.0 (highly alkaline)  lower the pH for better results:

      • Use Buffercide, Bufferplus, Unifilm B, or Nutra Plus.

    • Recommend water within a range of 4 – 7

Picloram breaks down slowly in all soils always read product label picloram

Picloram breaks down slowly in all soils…Always Read Product Label(picloram)

Contaminated soil amendments

Many pesticides break down slowly under anaerobic conditions.

New chemicals on the horizon

New Chemicals on the Horizon

  • 355 complaints of damage or injury towards trees.

  • A new herbicide used to manage broadleaf weeds in turf is implicated.

  • Aminocyclopyrachlor is expected to have a registration for pasture and rangeland in 2015.

Aminocyclopyrachlor Damage – ‘Perspective’

Proper diagnosis is key

Proper Diagnosis is Key

  • Many samples are not from

    pesticide damage.

    • Insect Damage

    • Plant Pathogens

    • Other abiotic plant stresses

  • Not any one pesticide can be blamed for all mis-use.

    • Growth regulator herbicide damage is likely the culprit for a majority of samples.

      • Major culprits: aminopyralid, picloram, clopyralid, fluroxypyr, aminoclyclopyrachlor

    • We need to increase the number of investigations which precisely confirm the exact chemistry.

Proper diagnosis is key1

Proper Diagnosis is Key

  • Get an idea if you have a problem

    • Use the MSU Extension non-target toxicity website.

    • Use MSU Extension agents

    • Send samples to MSU Schutter Diagnostics

    • Conduct bioassays

Conducting a bioassay

Conducting a bioassay

Figure 2: Results of a bioassay with known concentrations of aminopyralid. Plants shown are at six weeks after planting. Note leaf curling on plant grown in 5ppb (parts per billion) aminopyralid and death of plants at higher levels.

Use the non target toxicity around the home and garden website

Use the ‘Non-Target Toxicity around the Home and Garden Website’

  • A platform for delivering non-target toxicity information to the public and educators.

    • then select ‘Non-Target Toxicity Around the Home and Garden’.

Msu video s available online

MSU video’s available online

  • Part 1


  • Part 2


  • Part 3


For more information

For more information:

Cecil Tharp

Pesticide Education Program

Montana State University

Phone: (406)994-5067


Pgr symptoms from manure compost or grassclippings

PGR symptoms from manure, compost or grassclippings.

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