Neighbors sprayed Crossbow. What now?

Asked May 31, 2016, 11:50 PM EDT

We are 4 weeks into our first garden in a brand new raised bed (60 sq ft/6 cu yds). Our starts were doing great. Our sprouts were sprouting....and yesterday, the neighbor sprayed Crossbow all over his back yard. Our garden is 6 ft from the shared fence line (5 ft cedar). They had cut out all a bunch of blackberry vines previously and were spraying the ground level remnants. Today, the tomato branches in my garden are all twisting and the leaves are curling on every plant. My peppers are wilted and have dark patches in the stems. Corn and spinach might be a little wilted. Other things, so far, look OK. We have a small variety or veggies and herbs. There wasn't much wind yesterday, but there was some. The smell was horrific all day long. I don't know much about herbicides, but I read the label for Crossbow and over spray sounds like a big issue. I added an overhead pic of our lot. The red is the treated area. Green is my garden. I guess my questions are 1) How can I know if my plants are contaminated? Is there anything I can do? Consider everything poisoned and unusable? Can it contaminate the bed soil? Am I just thinking the worst? Could I just be over watering? The thought of loss of time and effort is killing me. Anything you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. -- Update -- Most of my tomato and pepper plants look a little better this morning, though they are far from what they looked like 2 days ago, before the spray. Beans and peas also look to be struggling some. My smaller leaf and root veggie and herbs starts/seedlings look fine. Cucs, squash, zucchini, and cantaloupe look great.

Washington County Oregon

2 Responses

Crossbow herbicide contains ingredients that can volatilize on hot days (like yesterday). The damage that you describe is consistent with herbicide damage, particularly since the plants were growing well earlier in the week.

At this juncture, you really have two options (or a combination thereof):

  1. Wait and see if you plants are able to grow through this setback. It sounds like the damage is relatively moderate and most of the plants might be able to resume normal growth and flowering/fruiting. I would compost the spinach and other leafy greens, however.
  2. Pull the tomatoes and peppers and re-plant. It is still a good time to plant these crops through mid-late June.
Lastly, you might have a polite conversation with your neighbor to inform them of what happened.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.


Thank you so much for the response. We are more at ease. Several days in now and we've seen significant improvement to most of the plants that took the Crossbow fume exposure hard. I'm happy to say nothing has gotten worse. Our Indigo Rose and Champion Tomatoes have been the slowest to improve. We'll give them another week and decide. - David K.