Just leaving a job on Wednesday when an old guy called me over.  He'd cleared his brothers overgrown garden and wanted me to quote for re-turfing it.  When I looked at what was left of the lawn I asked him what he had put on it.  As the title suggests he showed me a 5l container of Pathclear.  Said he just wanted to get rid of everything and start again!

The soil level is already slightly higher than the path so we would have to dig some off even without the contamination.  But, my question is..... how much of the soil are we going to have to dig off before we can safely turf the area again?


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  • PRO

    One sunny day in 2000 my Mum innocently dispatched my Dad to go to the garden centre by himself.  He came back with the lawn fertiliser, which they applied over their 3 lawned areas.

    After a few weeks, the only part of the lawn still green was where the watering can had been stood!

    At this point, Mum inspected the packet & discovered the words 'WEEDKILLER' emblazoned upon it.

    As spring progressed into summer, the once lush green lawn transformed into a mud bath, which naturally the poor dog was banned from.

    Hiring a gardener, who had limited skill with turfing, was also another blinding choice, as he proceeded to lay directly on the sodden soil, during the wetter than usual Autumn of 2000.

    The lawn quality has never been much good ever since, apart from the verge across the road, which used turf cut out from the original grass.

    Whilst that is always, lush & green, the rest of the lawns are always sickly, pale and notably water-logged.

    Dad, has been banned from buying anything  again.

  • PRO

    Perhaps contact the manufacturer of pathclear to see if it can be neutralized but i doubt it , I suspect there is an antidote if someone accidently consumes pathclear , It may be better to suggest artificial turf or test patch with grass seed or strip of turf after soil removal to see if the pathclear is still active .

    • PRO

      Just checked on the RHS website and pathclear is a residual weed killer which can also be taken up by tree and shrub roots and cause yellowing of leaves , Any soil removed would have to be disposed of carefully to avoid contamination i suspect . 

      Personally i would explain the problem to the old guy and the risks involved if you intend to take the job on but i wouldn't get involved . 

  • The "residual herbicide" in it is diflufenican.............. I use  Pistol which incorporates it and an area I sprayed 12 months ago is only just beginning to get some small weedgrowth. I guess you could skim off the surface to the right level and then try seeding a very small patch to test whether there's any weedkiller left and explain to the customer the risks of the turfing not working particularly well.  . 

    • PRO

      The question remains where would you dispose of the contaminated soil. Legally I expect you would need to do this through a registered waste processor. I'd decline the work and find something else to make your money on if I were you

  • PRO

    Classification and disposal of contaminated soil

  • PRO
    Another option would be to tell the client that he will have to wait a period while the weedkiller becomes inactive?
  • PRO Supplier

    Its really hard to tell how deep in the soil it has permeated - depends on the type ; sandy, clay etc...

    Field studies suggest its DT50 (time for degrading by 50% strength) is approx 300 days...If its not required soon then I would avoid skimming the top layer but rotorvate thoroughly, leave open to the elements to leach as much as possible away and add some rhizobacteria and nutrition to increase soil microbes....still a bit of a guessing game without a lab analysis but it would be weeks and months not years if it was worked on...water (rain) and sunshine (warm weather) will break it down quicker...


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