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Soil contamination

I recently moved to a property with a garden and decided to plant fruit trees and also planning to grow vegetables, herbs. Strawberries etc. But it just struck me that if any of my neighbours is using pesticides or weedkillers such as Round up which a very toxic it would be present in my soil too. Now I am worried my fruit and veg will be toxic too. Am I right to worry? And if so, is it possible to test soil for toxicity somewhere? Thank you


  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,038

    Where do you get your evidence from that Roundup is toxic? I would dearly love to read it.

    As far as I can find out there is no evidence that it contaminates the soil when used properly. It is only where farmers are pouring the stuff on in huge amounts that there seems to be a small problem.

    Pesticides are maybe a different matter.

    The only thing I would be concerned about is wind drift, if they spray carelessly.

    We have used Roundup in this garden for the last 20 years and we are still very much alive and eating the fruit and veg we produce. Not actually on the Veg patch but everywhere else, otherwise we would be drowning in ground elder, brambles, cow parsley, wild carrots and bindweed.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,827

    Chemicals available to EU gardeners are now severely limited and highly tested.   If used according to the instructions there is no danger.

    Round-up is designed to be toxic to any plant whose green stems or leaves it touches.  It becomes inert in the soil and will not affect your crops.

    It has been shown in EU scientific studies to be a problem for some habitats if it gets into water courses.   It also seems to be a problem to human health in some poorer, non EU countries where farmers are locked into GM crops which are bred to be resistant to glyphosate and then use it in too high concentrations to kill weeds.  

    If you are still unsure, you can google for info on soil tests for toxic waste.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) is, of course, toxic to plants, but is inactivated on contact with the soil.  There should therefore be no problems on that count.

    However, beware of using it more than occasionally - see this thread where we discussed it a couple of years back  .  It includes a reference to a paper explaining its possible toxic effects.

    The point about using it properly is important - if it's used in moderation to kill troublesome weeds, it's probably more or less OK (he says, hedging his bets).  The problem arises chiefly, as other have said, when agribusinessmen spray a whole crop that's been genetically modified to resist it, so that it all ripens together,  And so on.

    I still wouldn't use it unless there was no realistic alternative.

    Edit - cross posted with obelixx, hence some repetition

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