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compost after Iron HEDTA?

Posted by leira 6 MA (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 30, 11 at 14:15

Hi folks,

I'm finally biting off the task of attempting to return my lawn to being a lawn, rather than a big patch of weeds. To this end, I'm planning to apply iron HEDTA as a broadleaf weed killer in the form of the brand name "Iron-X." I hope it does the trick.

My question is...after I have applied this, do I need to make sure that the hopefully-dead weeds don't make it into the compost, and from there, into my garden? Or will it be OK after a rain? Is there anything else I need to know?

[For the record, it would take a lot to send me down the "Don't use Iron-X" path...there are big patches of our "lawn" where I don't think there's any grass at all, and big sections with only perhaps half grass. I've spend the last few years trying to bring the weeds under control through other means, and this is the route I'm going this year.]

Thanks, all!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: compost after Iron HEDTA?

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 31, 11 at 17:48

I routinely compost dandelions, including dandelion roots. These are very much alive when they go into the pile, having been dug up by hand. We have a slow pile, and any weeds will spend one year being composted. I don't think that small amounts of chelated iron would have any adverse effect on your compost pile. Chelated iron is toxic if ingested orally. But I'm sure the label carries a warning.

RE: compost after Iron HEDTA?

OK, let me be more specific.

Apparently Iron HEDTA can kill many plants that aren't grass.

My garden contains many plants that aren't grass.

If I compost dead weeds that have been covered with Iron HEDTA, and then put the compost on my garden, will this compost kill the things in my garden?

RE: compost after Iron HEDTA?

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 31, 11 at 20:59

Iron is actually an essential plant nutrient. Chelated iron is sometimes sprayed onto plants with yellow leaves, in order to green them up. So, its all a matter of dose. Iron HEDTA, applied per the directions, results in too much iron for the weeds to metabolize. It is toxic to the plant, and it dies within 24 hours. The excess iron should be diluted, over time, in the compost pile. All you have to do is add other items, food waste, grass clippings, or shredded leaves, that have not been treated with Iron HEDTA.

RE: compost after Iron HEDTA?

  • Posted by ericwi Dane County WI (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 31, 11 at 22:00

I do not think that compost made from dead weeds that were treated with Iron-HEDTA will have any adverse effect on your garden. Just add some other material, maybe shredded leaves, to your compost pile. Iron is an essential plant nutrient, it is only toxic when an overdose is applied to the plant. In this situation, I would be using a "slow compost" process, 3 months at a minimum.

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