Plant vandalism

After returning from a week's holiday we initially noticed that the lawn in our small garden had turned a bit yellow. Over the next few days it became apparent that it wasn't only the grass affected. Three lilac trees, half an acer, perennial geraniums and as time goes on-numerous plants have all been obviously sprayed with something that has killed them. We had a similar occurrence last year in our front garden-but to a much smaller extent. This time, I was so upset that we called in the police. Without any evidence on who the culprits were (we have our suspicions) there is nothing that can be done.  We are now improving security and erecting higher fences-all at a great cost that we cannot really afford. My question to you all is this-does anyone know of what we can do to find out what has been sprayed and how long it will stay in the ground. Our garden has been extensively wiped out and while at the moment, the fence and security cameras must come first, I know that re-planting and re-laying a lawn(that is two thirds destroyed) will be high on my priority list. I don't want to plant in contaminated soil and I have found it very difficult to find out any relevant information. Environmental health were most unhelpful as it was a "private dispute" and it Is unlikely to be covered on our house insurance. All the plants affected are either dead or dying and I don't want to clear them yet as they are evidence (in the unlikely event that our house insurance comes through).

My garden is my little sanctuary-full of lush, beautiful shrubs and flowers, and I am so cross and upset this has happened. 

So-what do I do next?



  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICTPosts: 11,217


    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 20,266

    Haley - how horrible for you. What on earth is wrong with some people? image

    I'm not sure how  easy it would be to find out what has been used, other than taking several soil samples and getting them tested. It would be easy to assume it was a general weedkiller, and the best course of action would be to thoroughly soak everything to wash it through the soil, which would then mean it would be ok to replant after a few weeks. However, if it's happened that quickly, it could well be something more powerful - like sodium chlorate, which is now banned, but I expect people can still acquire it, or even still have it in their possession.

    Would that be a possibility - taking some samples? 

    to walk through a forest is to touch the past

  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 17,036

    Oh haley how very, very upsetting for you - and the apparent apathy of the Environmental Health people only rubs salt into your wounds.

    I do agree with aym about CCTV - even if some of the cameras were dummies just to give the appearance to the horrible people who did this that they were on tv.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 20,266

    My only thought was the speed of the damage Verd. Hayley had only been away a week. image

    Tricky confronting people too - you know what some people can be like, even if you're very sure of the culprit....image

    Next thing you know, the police are at your door because they've made a complaint. Without hard evidence, it could be a minefield... and then the problem escalates. Genuine security camera is well worth it. If you repair all the damage, and these people are serious, it could happen again. 

    Whatever the cause, it's despicable. 

    to walk through a forest is to touch the past

  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,543

    So sorry to hear Haley, I for one would be infuriated to the core if this happened to somewhere i've spent a lot of time, money and passion on. I wonder if we could all send you cuttings or seeds of your favourite shrubs and plants that have been destroyed from everyone here on GW forum to get you going again? I can't believe a neighbour could be that evil and cunning, some people really are the lowest of the low. 

    Last edited: 13 August 2016 13:26:35

  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Third rock from the sunPosts: 17,036

    Count me in too!

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Thank you all for your comments and advice. The difference in just a week since we've been home is tremendous. I wish I could post photos so you could see the damage. Plants that I thought would make it now appear to be failing. I will try and get some soil samples analysed. We had a lot of rain that first week which in one way would help wash any contaminates away, but also wash away evidence as well.

    We did confront them, but they strenuously denied any involvement. This has happened too many times for us to believe them. Always after returning from holiday and always after some remark made about the plants.

    It really means a lot that you would offer cuttings to complete strangers. This alone has made us feel better. As we are still in the process of trying to find out the extent of the damage caused I don't think I could even think about restocking it yet. Too much work to get the fences and CCTV up and running. Thank you all so so much though. It really does mean the world. Other people who are not gardeners just don't get how absolutely devastated I was.  

    I will try and update you all if I have any developments. Thanks again.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 20,266

    Hayley - I think most of us here can identify with your anger and sadness. You mention they have remarked about your plants. Is there an issue with overhanging branches or something? If so, it can be resolved, but they don't sound like they would be reasonable about any kind of sensible progress. Some people are simply vile.

    The cameras are the way to go - without doubt. I know it can still be difficult , and if they do it again, having the evidence to have them charged could also bring about more issues, but for your own peace of mind, it seems sensible.

    Knowing you have them may be enough to curb the behaviour. Fingers crossed. image

    And yes - many people here would also send you plants and/or seeds etc. we have a swap thread, so when you feel ready to get some new plants in, come back and we'll guide you in the direction image

    to walk through a forest is to touch the past

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