OK to use ammonia on edible plants.

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We use ammonia solution to kill slugs on plants but have been avoiding vegatables because we don't know if it is safe on edible plants.
Is it?
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Why don't you just use "Draino"? Both will give you hydroxide which is easy enough to wash off, if your plant should happen to survive.
A better choice would be a snail and slug bait whose active ingredient is iron phosphate (technically that should be ferric phosphate). It is sold as Sluggo, and Home Despot has a in house brand that is a little cheaper. Iron phosphate will kill snails and slugs, but is safe for humans and pets (unless your pet is a snail or slug ;O)
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Billy wrote:

I think you will find that Draino contains sodium hydroxide which is a very strong alkali that will harm you, your plants and your soil, as will the sodium ions in it. Ammonia solution is much less toxic and less permanent as the ammonia gas will fairly soon disperse leaving water. Ammonia gas is actually used as a fertiliser applied directly to the soil. I am not recommending it for that in this case but saying that to point out it is relatively harmless.

Agreed.
David
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NH3 + H2O <---> NH4(+) + OH(-)[also called the hydroxide ion] as in sodium hydroxide (NaOH) + H2O ---> Na(+) + OH(-) + H2O Strength is only a matter of concentration.

Most ammonia gas escapes into the atmosphere, otherwise it easily runs off in aqueous solution. Very little os mineralized into the soil for use by the plants, which here is mostly GMO dent corn plants.

Got that chook confined yet?
"The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow." - Anon
2nd best may be a politician. Most seem to come full of manure.
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Billy wrote:

Not entirely, it also depends on the degree of dissociation of the ions, this is the technical difference between strong bases and weak bases, not the concentration of solute. Sodium hydroxide is a strong base and ammonium hydroxide is a weak one. But why are we going on about this when nobody is thinking of using draino?

True but I was not recommending it for that purpose was I (or at all).

Other work has dragged me away from completing chook yards. Like so many things - it's on the list.
David
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Because the active agent is hydroxide in both. If one were to use one form of hydroxide, why not another? I found it to be a bad idea, and was using an analogy to make my point.
"The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow." - Anon
Jobs Not Wars
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Weasle word BS.
* "Anhydrous ammonia would stay in the gas form and be lost to the atmosphere if it did not react quickly with moisture in the soil.When AA is released in the soil, it is retained in the soil by various chemical and physical mechanisms.The most common are reactions with free hydrogen ions in the soil (function of pH) and with water.The result of these reactions is ammonium being formed, held to exchange sites, and not subject to loss in the soil."
* http://fieldcrop.msu.edu/documents/Anhydrous%20Ammonia%20in%20soil.pdf
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Billy wrote: ...

is it safe for worms?
songbird
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It's safe for anything that doesn't become a moth or butterfly, for those larvae it's deadly.
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Steve Peek wrote:

This is puzzling. Iron phosphate is mainly to kill snails and slugs neither of which are larvae of anything. What did you mean?
D
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I'm sorry, part of my disability includes "brain fog". I was "layering Ferric phosphate with Bt. Bt is deadly only to the larvae, Ferric phosphate is harmless to mammals. I apologize for the confusion. Steve
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Steve Peek wrote:

Ah...
D
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On 4/5/2011 11:32 AM, Cal Who wrote:

residue in soil will be fertilizer.
Think I used to put salt on slugs but if you want to avoid poison baits you could always use the saucer of beer trick or put out boards for slugs to crawl under in the day and just overturn and pick them off.
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Frank wrote:

i like the board method the best.
once in a while the raccoons come through and flip the boards looking for goodies.
songbird
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Thanks

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Go with Frank on this one. It is safe on all but the most tender if mixed properly. So it will depend on the strength of the ammonia and the dilution you have bottled. Household Ammonia is ~ 10% strength.
A fairly safe mix is 1 part household ammonia with 5 parts of non- chlorinated, non-softened water and make sure you test a small patch before wide spread use. I'm sure there are many other formulas touted but you need to test it first and take precautionary measure like not spraying in the heat of the day or when extremely dry. I have read 1:2 but that seems a bit strong
I don't know WTH the Drano comment is about other than as a lead-in for billy's political propaganda.
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billy's part of the new breed of chemists that are afraid of chemicals. I'm old school ;)
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In article

Not afraid of most of them, Frank, just respectful.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=chemical-controls
April 2010, Scientific American p. 30 Chemical Controls
Congress needs to give federal agencies greater authority to test and regulate chemicals by the EDITORS
This January the Food and Drug Administration warned parents not to pour hot liquids into plastic baby bottles and also to discard bottles that get scratched. Otherwise, a potentially harmful chemical might leach out of the plastic. This warning was the agency's first, tentative acknowledgment of an emerging scientific consensus: many widely used chemicals once deemed safe may not be.
But a warning was all the FDA could offer worried consumers. The agency does not have the power to force baby-bottle makers to stop using the chemical in questionbisphenol A, better known as BPA. Nor is the FDA alone. The Environmental Protection Agency's administrator Lisa Jackson testified to Congress last September that her agency lacks the muscle to restrict the manufacture of BPA and other chemicals. The relevant law, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, is simply too weak. It must be strengthened.
As the law stands, the EPA cannot be proactive in vetting chemical safety. It can require companies to test chemicals thought to pose a health risk only when there is explicit evidence of harm. Of the 21,000 chemicals registered under the law's requirements, only 15 percent have been submitted with health and safety dataand the EPA is nearly powerless to require such data. The law allows companies to claim confidentiality about a new chemical, preventing outside evaluation from filling this data gap; some 95 percent of new submissions fall under this veil of secrecy. Even when evidence of harm is clear, the law sets legal hurdles that can make action impossible. For instance, federal courts have overturned all the EPA's attempts to restrict asbestos manufacture, despite demonstrable human health hazard.
Consequently, of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the U.S., only five have been either restricted or banned. Not 5 percent, five. The EPA has been able to force health and safety testing for only around 200.
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I hope that's not too political for you, Frank, although it does imply
that regulation might be good, but we don't need another Wall Street
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(Ignorant propaganda attempt at diversion for a F/U snipped)
You just can't stop digging can you?
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Thanks
wrote:

Go with Frank on this one. It is safe on all but the most tender if mixed properly. So it will depend on the strength of the ammonia and the dilution you have bottled. Household Ammonia is ~ 10% strength.
A fairly safe mix is 1 part household ammonia with 5 parts of non- chlorinated, non-softened water and make sure you test a small patch before wide spread use. I'm sure there are many other formulas touted but you need to test it first and take precautionary measure like not spraying in the heat of the day or when extremely dry. I have read 1:2 but that seems a bit strong
I don't know WTH the Drano comment is about other than as a lead-in for billy's political propaganda.
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