From:Austin, TX Region: Southwest Topic: Turf Title: Did pre-emergent herbicide for lawn kill oak tree in Austin? Answered by: Barbara Medford
Your article in today's (May 1st)Austin American-Statesman advised against using herbicides around oaks. Does that include the "pre-emergents" that the lawn care companies use in the Spring? I had a live oak die on me and I suspect it was due to a couple of years of pre-emergent applications.
A general kills-everything, melts-your-sidewalk herbicide can kill just about anything that can't run away. The pre-emergent that is sprayed on grasses (which are monocots or narrow leaf plants) is intended to kill dicots, which are broadleaf plants. Guess what an oak is? Right, a broadleaf plant. We discourage the use of sprayed-on herbicides because there is always the potential of their moving on to an unintended target. Another downside of the pre-emergent is that many of the "weeds" in your (probably non-native) lawn grasses are also grasses, often native grasses, but nevertheless unwanted. They will survive and thrive on the pre-emergent spraying, because they are monocots, not the dicots for which the herbicide is intended. Whether this is actually what caused your live oak to die, we can't possibly say, but it sure couldn't have done it any good. And we also discourage letting outside contractors make the decisions about what should be applied in your garden. They may not know what side effects that application might have, they are just doing their job.
More Turf Questions
Native lawn grass for El Paso April 24, 2011 - I am new to the El Paso area and my front and back yards are currently mostly dirt with a tiny bit of dying (thank goodness) bermuda grass. I want to seed both yards with something that will grow well... view the full question and answer
Problem with Habiturf. Is it dormant or dead? July 24, 2013 - We planted habiturf in spring 2012. It's beautiful. But since last summer, we have had one area that seems to go dormant much more rapidly than the rest, even though it receives the same amount of ... view the full question and answer
Lawn care? May 10, 2009 - I had red yucca planted in my garden last May. They were trimmed back by my lawn care people last winter and currently seem to be slowly growing back. However, the red flower stalk is not growing ba... view the full question and answer
Plants to prevent erosion in IL August 02, 2012 - We just got done building a house and have leveled all of the dirt piles. We do have a row of straw bales to help prevent the dirt from washing onto the neighbors property. It is the wrong time of ye... view the full question and answer