Is Your Lawn Care Company Killing Your Trees?

Spring showers bring many wildflowers in Texas. They also bring about the exponential growth of those not so beautiful plants known as weeds.

Many residents in North Texas call on a professional lawn care service to keep their lawn green and weed-free. However, the use of chemicals, such as Metsulfuron, will harm and eventually kill trees, as well as other life in the landscape.

“The largest weeds in your yard are your trees. The same chemicals that control dandelions, crabgrass and Dallisgrass can also kill your trees.”

Tree Shepherds founder and ISA Master Arborist, Scott Geer
Red Oak leaves showing damage from Metsulfuron poisoning.

Symptoms of chemical poisoning by herbicides can vary, depending on the amount of exposure, the health of the tree, and even the tree species. Red Oaks are particularly sensitive to herbicides. The photo above shows signs of Metsulfuron poisoning in a Red oak.

Poisoning From the Roots Up

Herbicides kill a tree from the roots up, and therefore should not be applied anywhere near a tree’s root zone, or where irrigation might carry the herbicide to a tree’s root system.

Graphic Credit: NC State extension.

A tree’s root zone is 1 to 2 times the height of the tree. In many small yards, a mature tree’s roots might spread over the entire lawn.

What Can You Do?

If you employ a professional lawn care company, always ask to see the label of the chemicals being used before they are applied. Herbicide and pesticide product labels are legal documents that must clearly state restrictions on use and potential harm to plant and animal life. Refuse any use of Metsulfuron and other harmful herbicides near your trees.

Another very toxic herbicide to be aware of is Atrazine. “Weed and Feed” should also never be applied to a lawn with trees nearby.

To be safe, consider your whole lawn the root zone of your trees and use more organic solutions like Earth Kind Services for lawn maintenance. Your trees and the wildlife living in your lawn will thank you.

Call an ISA Certified Arborist

If you believe that your tree has been poisoned, please call Tree Shepherds to set up an appointment with one of our ISA certified arborists. They can assess the damage and prescribe a plant health care plan to help your tree recover.

Krista White

Krista White

Krista is a member of the marketing and education team at Tree Shepherds. A lifelong learner, she loves writing about anything from Hemingway to Quercus macrocarpa.