Neighbors who use pesticides

I live in an suburban area with nearly a half of an acre. I believe in organic, pesticide free gardening. My concern is that my neighbor uses some kind of chemical treatment of their lawn. I see the chemical truck parked outside of their house every month. I am afraid that my organic gardening is not really organic. How far does the pesticide leach from someone's land? How far should my garden be from their pesticide-laden grass?


  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    Your garden should be as far as possible away from their yard. Besides ground leaching, you have to be concerned with spray over depending on wind direction on days the poison is being applied. Hope your neighbors are enlightened soon.

  • kabaras
    kabaras Posts: 9 ✭✭✭

    For our organic certification we have what are "buffer zones". This is a 30 foot strip around the land that boarders. The other comment is spot on about wind! A field of soybeans across the road was sprayed and wow we could smell it as we walked to the house. There are actually rules that the chemical applicators must follow and the issue can be pushed if necessary.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,356 admin

    @kabaras That is what is required here too. It can be pushed with recognized chemical applicator businesses if you have time, date, & physical proof, but nothing will be done with landholders abusing the application rules. The first step...approach the landholder...nice. We have tried asking (respectfully) even just for notice that spraying was to happen (that's it...simple) and we were quickly dismissed with an excuse. There are also very old feuds here that we unknowingly moved into the middle of. To approach this again would actually be very life altering, if not dangerous for us in our situation. Then there are steps listed after the initial "discussion". This would lead to difficulties with red tape & hoops beyond what should be necessary & neighbor & community issues and in the end, a person would never win against the said farm neighbor. There is too much money & misinformation involved. It is a very difficult thing to pursue.

    We have *heavily* sprayed land surrounding us on all sides. They spray in all conditions except rain & of course, snow. We (parents, children) have been sprayed as they go past, booms oh so high, children sprayed with herbicides by the municipality because the applicator driver "didn't see them." "But that's okay, at least the herbicides won't hurt you like pesticides..." said the munipality. We have had damage to our bushes/property and I could go on. 😡

    Suffice it to say, winter is now my favorite season. We hope to move to a cleaner air area at some point and want to farm holistically. If only it was tomorrow...if only we were the ones with money. 😧

  • Alison
    Alison Posts: 179 ✭✭✭

    This seems a larger problem than I imagined.

    Laurie I relate entirely on your situation and empathise with you and your family. I have had trees and other plants along one border die due to constant spraying from a neighbour.

    A buffer zone is clearly needed.

    What I have found helpful is protecting plants [OK, disclaimer - this is what I am trying to do to resolve the situation as much as possible as all other options have failed, it hasn't necessarily fixed it as yet] that I have planted along the border. My hope is that the bamboo and tiger grass will help provide a thick enough protective barrier where I've needed a tall [or for tiger grass shorter] barrier.

    Some areas I have planted a specific conifer tree that can be kept hedged if needed. That will make it thicker and thus provide more protection. It will also mean it won't take up more room than I am willing to forgo.

    As suggested in a previous response, I have put in some raised beds as far from the other property as possible for veggies.

    We get gale force winds here and while it used to be a time I dreaded, now it means the 'drift spray' has less impact here, it is one of my favourite periods.

    One last option so as to stay as healthy as possible: disposable Activated Carbon Face Masks for yourself and your children. You can get them online in bundles of 10-100 and are rather inexpensive. I've used them for a few years now and it means you / your family won't be breathing in the toxins while you find a solution.

    Take Care

  • Alison
    Alison Posts: 179 ✭✭✭

    I was also wondering if you've considered using a poly tunnel for growing food. You can have more control over the environment that way.

    Let us know how you go and if anything works.

  • dimck421
    dimck421 Posts: 203 ✭✭✭

    In having a huge desire to grow good clean food, it does seem to be a battle. My farm borders a tobacco farm. Two of my fields have buffer zones. One does not. In the end, grass grows in that field. The tobacco receives a hefty spray of I am not sure what frequently. The resulting odor fills my home and my fields. I can only suspect both fields and home remain contaminated. Tobacco being the local cash crop, there is no need to complain. :( In short, I feel your pain!

  • anita.toler73
    anita.toler73 Posts: 24 ✭✭✭

    I agree with the others that unfortunately you have to worry about the leeching and also the spray through wind contact. I used to live in a condo and they used to spray and I could never have a garden outside my end unit because I didn't have a choice. It's a shame to have that dilemma in your own yard. I think the only solution is to reroute your garden on the far other side of your neighbor.

  • maryannfricko
    maryannfricko Posts: 133 ✭✭✭

    I wish that there was a way to discuss it with the neighbors without causing a problem. Many people just do not understand the harm that pesticides cause.

  • cre8tiv369
    cre8tiv369 Posts: 67 ✭✭✭

    Most people that pay the Chem lawn companies or landscapers to maintain pristine looking toxic lawns only care about the look. Ever wonder what would happen if their lawns looked like crap? What if someone “accidentally spilled some vinegar, bleach, or dusted some cal lime all over from time to time? What if you grew a yard full of dandelions that constantly blew over into their yard? What if a bird flying over accidentally dumped a bucket of live gophers? How wild would that be?

    You think they might keep firing the companies that fail to deliver? They might even eventually give up on the crazy idea of trying to pay for that chemical lawn and might even get a few door flyers for artificial lawns that look like perfectly mowed grass. Chances are they will still pay an exterminator to spray poison all around, but at least they wouldn’t have the lawn poisons added to it. I’m not saying anyone should do those things, I’m just saying what if...