FPC Committee Notes: Don't Get the Drift

Each of the Food Policy Council committees (Education & Outreach, Policy & Infrastructure, and Land Preservation) will be posting monthly pieces - highlighting an issue that they're currently studying about our local food system:

Don't Get the Drift

Herbicide drift can cause injury and death to crops sensitive to herbicides. Grapes, tomatoes, walnut trees, and many other horticulture crops are sensitive to a common herbicide 2,4-D, used on lawns, pastures, and crop land. Reading the label is highly encouraged anytime you use a product.

Weeds such as dandelions, bindweed, and musk thistle, are more easily controlled in the fall than in the spring. These weeds are pulling carbohydrates from their leaves in the fall and storing food reserves in their roots. If they are treated with a herbicide prior to a killing frost, the herbicide is translocated into the root systems and kills the plant. In the spring, the roots are pushing food into the leaves to grow the plant, and a herbicide may damage the top growth, but is less likely to kill the roots.

Sensitive crops such as grapes and tomatoes are less likely to be effected by herbicides in the fall. They are either finished producing and/or their leaves are not as tender and susceptible to herbicides as they would be in the spring.

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