The compost industry is having to combat a new kind of herbicide that is slow to break down in compost and can damage or kill a variety of plants even in low concentrations. This discovery is making any compost found to contain the herbicides completely unmarketable.
One product identified in the controversy is Confront, an herbicide used by commericial lawn care applicators to remove weeds like dandelions and clover from golf courses and residential lawns. Plants grown in compost containing Confront and similar products can be damaged or killed by the herbicide.
Dow AgroSciences, the manufacturer of Confront, claims it has met its obligation to prevent the contamination of compost by including the product label: “Do not use compost containing grass clippings from turf treated with Confront within the growing season of application.” The only trouble is that the purchasers of the product who might read the label are not the homeowners or lawn maintenance companies who will ultimately be the ones to compost lawn clippings.
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