weed killer

Q: While applying a weed killer (herbicide) to my lawn, some of the weed killer got around the roots of my shrubs and now portions of the shrubs are damaged. What can I apply to correct the damage?

Q: While applying a weed killer (herbicide) to my lawn, some of the weed killer got around the roots of my shrubs and now portions of the shrubs are damaged. What can I apply to correct the damage? Would it help to put out some fertilizer?

A: Once the shrub is damaged by an herbicide or weed killer, the damage is permanent. It doesn’t mean the shrub will completely die, only the portions damaged. Applying fertilizer now, I believe, would complicate the problem because fertilizing the shrub would encourage new sprout and stem growth which would be exceptionally tender should we experience a cold snap or drastic drops in temperatures. It is best to keep the plant watered properly then take a “wait and see” attitude. Hopefully by next spring any new growth will cover the branches and foliage lost this year to the herbicide.

You can remove any of the dead branches now if you like, but other than that, let the plant do its best to recover on its own. If you were using a broadcast spreader to apply your herbicide, consider purchasing a shield to limit the broadcast area. In the future you may want to avoid applying herbicides near the flower, tree and shrub areas.