Tuesday, May 28, 2013

PSA: Contaminated manure or compost?


In case Alaskans were feeling lazy with all the (extremely belated) beautiful weather, this hot tip will keep us on our toes. The Operations Manager at Anchorage Soil and Water Conservation District, Mr. Ryan Stencel, cautions us:

“As we finally get into spring, be careful on your source of manure or compost for your garden-there are several confirmed contaminations statewide, including here in Anchorage. Be sure your supplier doesn’t use Aminopyralid/Clopyralid…. And for those using these products, please follow the label carefully, including not allowing any contaminated products to leave your property (hay, manure, compost, or dirt).”

He was kind enough to include a link to an article in the paper that will (to use the lingo of my kids) freak out every gardener in the Greatland. Check it out, if you dare. And scrutinize the provenance of that compost. Your taters will thank you.

Now back to your gardens!


  1. We had this problem on our allotment site a few years ago now and I gathered lots of information about it on my website here which may be of some help. There are also lots of photos showing the symptoms. Since them we have been very wary of using manure.

  2. My sister by Sioux Falls, SD was telling me about a gardener who had the same thing happen to her. I cannot remember the name of the chemical, but it sounds like the same results. I feel bad for whoever ate the yak. Wait? Do you eat yaks?

  3. The likely culprits, aminopyralid or clopyralid (sold under the brand names of Milestone and Transline), knock out broad-leaf weeds like docks and thistles without hurting hay and grasses. When domestic animals eat the grasses, herbicide residue concentrates in their manure. The manure gets sold or shared with growers, and the aminopyralid ends up in places it was never intended, like Henke's vegetable garden.

  4. holy crap, I'm surprised no one has commented on this. Not only is it a problem for Alaska but for any gardener in North America. Made me more than a little concerned about the manure I've been getting from my neighbour.

    1. I has also been a problem in Europe. Here in the UK we tried to get lots of publicity when it happened to us but there are still people unaware and still it is affecting people as just sits in stored manure for years only being broken down when it comes into contact with soil microbes. There were even cases here where shop bought compost was affected as some have green waste as an ingredient.


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