Gary McDaniel Asked
Is it possible that I can get drift from 2,4D, MSMA spraying done 300-500 feet away? Each July someone sprays nearby but abates spraying 300-500 feet from my house. My centipede lawn dies back overnight, my newly planted apple trees die, and this year I lost my entire watermelon patch. Additionally, the ends of my blueberry bushes turn brown and die back. Does this sound like herbicide might be the culprit?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Gary: There is always a possibility of damaging plant material when we spray chemicals in our garden. 300-500 feet away seems like a long distance for any home spraying application to drift, but without knowing droplet size and the equipment or the strength of the sprayer they are using, I cannot say for sure. If they are using a commercial sprayer at a higher/faster rate of application than recommended and the wind direction happens to be blowing your way, then yes, it could be possible that it has damaged your plant material. Spray drift of MSMA (sodium methanearsonate) would be the main concern. It will certainly kill your centipede grass, and the tip burn you described on your blueberries can be a result of chemical sprays. You would not want to eat the apples or blueberries that came into contact with this herbicide. You can always take samples to your county Cooperative Extension Service for them to analyze. This way you know exactly what you are dealing with and if this is the case you may be able to speak with your neighbor about adjusting his/her spraying routine.