May 1, 2012

Very Bad

On the first of the month I show you a mistake that I have made in the garden, playing along with Joene's Garden Oops meme. You can check out more on her blog.

Sometimes I try to laugh at the silly goofs I have made, but this time I have a serious warning for you. This was a very bad mistake.  A very bad Oops.

In March I left a small bottle of herbicide on my potting bench.   I use it to carefully paint the cut stems of the galloping multiflora rose out in the meadow.  It's a losing battle as the rose overtakes everything, but I try to control it.

High winds kicked up, the bottle was overturned and blown about the patio, and the cap loosened.  The result was a trail of spilled herbicide on the pavers that I didn't see until the next day.

Spilled herbicide.

Oily poison.

Seeping into the paver sand, and coating the bricks.

You can't clean it off with a strong jet from the hose, that will just wash it into the gardens around the patio.

You can't soak it up with sawdust or dry material, it's already soaked up by the porous pavers.

The dark oily stain remains, streaked down the patio and pooled in the corner, visually reminding me of what a mistake I made leaving a bottle of poison on an open bench during a windstorm.

There was a bag of potting soil in the puddle under the bench, and when I moved it aside I realized the bag was coated in an oily sheen as well.  I don't think I can use the potting soil --- any attempt to open and handle the bag may contaminate the material.

Planting in potting soil that has traces of herbicide is probably not a good idea.

How long does herbicide persist in an open environment?  The oily stain may never go, but does the hazard last very long?

The lesson here is so painfully obvious ---


Don't leave a tippy bottle of herbicide out on a windy day.

Make sure the cap is on tight wherever you store it.

Don't be lazy about handling poisons.

Don't make a bad mistake like this.



  1. I'm so sorry for the stain on your pavers and the constant reminder of your GOOPs. You've shared valuable and important advice today ... advice we all need to heed.

    Does the sun hit the stained area much? It might help dissipate the oily remnants. I agree you should not plant in the potting mix possibly tainted by the herbicide.

    1. Joene, the 3 inches of heavy rain we got last week dissipated a lot of the stain. I don't want to think where it washed to, as I have plantings all around the patio. So far all plants appear healthy and thriving. The sun hits one of the spots and that is helping too. And we have been applying Absorbit over and over to soak up what we can.

      So it is starting to be less noticeable, but is still an awful reminder of my stupidity.

  2. Argh, that's such a bummer! I'm so sorry. :(

  3. Oh my. I have no idea how to clean this up. I can feel your angst. UGH...

  4. Unilock makes cleaner that should clean your pavers of this oily mess. It is a bit pricy, but give your local dealer a call.

  5. Oh, so sorry! Sometimes we get away with these things, and sometimes not so much... hope it fades soon & doesn't get tracked into your lovely plants.

  6. Ouch! How much the herbicide will continue to seep into your lawn/garden through rain will depend on the stability of the chemicals in the product. Exposure to heat, rain, etc can break them down. Chances are, the damage is done and all that's left is a big visual. Anything that would die, probably already has. Smart move to dump the soil.

  7. Thanks, everyone, for sympathizing and confirming what a horrid mistake I made : (

    I won't do it again.

  8. A good reminder for all of us. I hope the herbicide didn't travel too far into your garden. So sad about your lovely pavers, though; I hope the stain isn't permanent.


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