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soil contamination test

On 4 May 2015 at 2:18pm elaine lawrence wrote:
There is a strong, and strange smell in a small area of my garden which is i think is killing whatever is planted in it - killed all privet and now the laurel planted instead is going yellow. Does anyone know any local service i can use to find out what it is.
On 4 May 2015 at 4:24pm bastian wrote:
you can buy a soil PH testing kit at the garden centre, and find out if your neighbours have recently creasoted their fence etc. most poisons that kill plants leave no scent behind. most actual toxins do not smell of anything. If a previous owner has tipped glycosate on that patch, it will wash away into nitrogen (it makes plants grow themselves to death) eventually and within a year you will be able to plant again.
On 4 May 2015 at 4:48pm lewes born and bred wrote:
Bastian, as a botanist and head gardener, your post above is pretty shocking at best. If you think a simple pH test will work out the problem, please think again.
Ok Elaine, firstly, does it look like a neighbour or member of the public walking past has poured something over the area ?
How long have you been in the house ?....could it of been oil, diesel or something else poured on their by a previous owner? What is the smell like ?....could it be dogs weeing against the plants?, cats or Foxes spraying against it ?
Have you annoyed any neighbours (sorry, have to ask)
Or.....have you kept everything planted well watered....and what is the depth of soil?....if it's only 4" of soil then soild chalk, that could be a problem.
More details needed before diagnosis
On 4 May 2015 at 7:52pm Belladonna wrote:
Parts of my soil have an acrid pungent smell when disturbed. But it doesn't affect growing conditions.
I would (using gloves) dig out your dead privet and laurel. I'd dig down at least a foot and see if anything is leaching into the soil or is buried underneath. If there's nothing obvious, then you could ring the RHS for advice.
Is there any way anyone could deliberately poison the (presume) hedge ?
On 4 May 2015 at 8:44pm Monty Dom wrote:
you need to call Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme. But keep your wits about you.
On 5 May 2015 at 6:12am Conny Dom wrote:
Always wear gloves - I know you don't Monty, naughty boy.
On 5 May 2015 at 12:39pm Donny Con wrote:
Send me a sample and enclose a 20 note - I'll send the results by return.
On 5 May 2015 at 12:40pm Donkey Kong wrote:
I might have wee'd on your garden
On 5 May 2015 at 7:29pm bastian wrote:
Thank you born and vred, I have also gardened all my life, the first thing I would do is ask my neighbour if their plants are ok on the other side of the fence. Then do a PH test, and dig out the plant that seems affected. It is possible to plant again. Did you know that oyster mushroom spores in straw can clean up a polluted spot of land in just a few months. As a gardener, you might find that useful.
On 7 May 2015 at 9:25pm elaine wrote:
thanks everyone! really helpful. i am going to look into all the ideas and suggestions starting with a ph test. i think its possible its a place where cats or foxes pee (though i have never seen a fox in the garden) - because the smell is so strong - but it would have to be a lot of pee to kill the hedge i would have thought.

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