Gardening Chemicals, A Solution or a Problem for the ʻŌhiʻa?

What if the herbicides, fungicides, pesticides and fertilizers being used are causing the problem for the ʻŌhiʻa?

When visiting the Corporate owned hardware stores, have you ever noticed that there is an entire aisle dedicated to poisons for the garden. There is also an entire section of fertilizers, many are synthetic chemical fertilizers. Each one of these products contain a different combination of chemicals. Let’s just ponder the ingredients in herbicide products for a moment. Two different herbicide brands can have two completely different active chemical ingredients.

Is it rational to consider that there could be an unwanted synergistic effect happening between any combination of man made chemicals causing certain species to thrive in the absence of another. Or visa versa. It is definitely worth looking into. But who will look into it. One must admit, having the manufacturer of such products investigate themselves does create some temptation to be dishonest in order to keep profits up and shareholders happy.

Let’s also consider for a moment that the Earth herself is made up of her own countless naturally occurring chemicals, chemical combinations, and temperatures variances. Is it even possible to test in a lab the effects of a man made chemical when introduced to an environment full of unknown “surprises”. What if man made chemical “A” mixes with the chemistry in the sap of a plant. What then? Does this new chemical combination support the life of a new strain of fungi that can wipe out an entire forest? We just don’t know and can not rule it out yet.

There was a time on my journey that I blindly trusted the labeling on chemical garden products. For a short time I was chasing the miracle garden dream. But, I noticed in my own yard some molds growing that I had never encountered prior to using the products. Lichen that were never present in my garden soon became a problem for my palm trees. I started seeing aphids and stopped seeing praying Mantis and a garden that was once rich with lady bugs soon had almost none. I used these products for about 5 years before admitting to myself that I may have been making a mistake, wasted my money and damaged my adored garden oasis.

After using these products to make my lawn green while controlling weeds, with in a year I began to notice my dogs developing tumors on their bodies and one dog was getting large painful boils on her paws. But the packaging on the herbicides and fertilizers said it was safe for pets once the product dried.  Looking back, even if the product were safe for my pets after it dried, what about the animals I did not have any control over?  The birds, the lizards, the frogs,  the neighbors cat, etc. How unsafe was this product while still wet. I know in 20 minutes it could kill my weeds and they would be gone for a few weeks.  My pets were given very high quality food and washed with gentle dog shampoos and conditioners so I doubt this was a cause for the sudden health issues. None of my dogs were the same size, age, or breed so that wasn’t a genetic problem in a breed. I had 5 rescue dogs from 5 different places and 5 different breeds.  And there were no health problems until I started to take chemical shortcuts to boost flower production and increase the greenery of my gingers and heliconias in the garden in an attempt to create a gardening miracle.

It is not possible to prove that the man made chemicals caused these problems in my yard and I can’t prove that they are killing the Hawaii forest. I’m just sharing my experience and the findings of my accidental science project. It is important to share information like this with one another so we can learn from each others mistakes and successes.  We also need to respect the earth and the balance of life the Earth supports. If we are killing a type of insect or plant that we as humans deem a nuisance we must be aware that these poisons kill indiscriminately. We can not pick and choose who lives and who dies. It simply does not work that way. Unless you are wielding a slippah to take out that roach or fly that is freaking you out. We really do not know enough about the long term effects of taking shortcuts by using herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizers AND before a product is regarded as safe all testing that needs to be done MUST be done by someone without a financial interest in the outcome of said tests.