Accidentally spilling diesel on your lawn is one of the last things any homeowner wants to do. Further, applying diesel intentionally to any plant or on a patch of soil is illegal in the United States as diesel is a toxic substance according to the EPA and even a small amount can contaminate soil, the water table, and more. If you do happen to spill any diesel, it’s important to clean it up quickly and follow the proper protocols to ensure compliance with the law.
Will Diesel Kill Grass?
Yes, diesel will kill grass as well as many other things including weeds, worms, moles, wasps, and desirable landscaping plants. Diesel is a toxic substance that should always be handled with care. It is difficult to get out of the ground once it has been spilled, splashed, or sprayed. It takes a long time to break down and it can cause harm to humans, too.
Will Diesel Kill Grass Permanently?
Whether or not diesel will kill grass permanently depends on how much diesel you’re willing to use or has been spilled, and your definition of “permanently.” First, diesel will kill any plant life you apply it to. Those plants will not grow back. They will be dead down to the roots. Even insects, bugs, and small animals in the surrounding soil will die.
As long as the diesel remains in the top few feet of soil, nothing will grow well in this area and the more diesel that was spilled or applied, the more likely nothing will grow at all until the diesel breaks down. This process can take many years, especially in a low-rain environment.
How Fast Does Diesel Kill Grass?
Diesel begins to kill grass in less than an hour and will completely kill and begin decomposing the plant in a maximum of 48 hours. This includes any plant that was sprayed or splashed with diesel as well as any plant with roots in the area of a spill. Even a small spill can cause a wide radius of plant death as diesel rapidly absorbs into nearby soil and easily penetrates plant roots of all kinds, including trees.
Will Diesel Kill Grass and Weeds?
Using diesel to kill grass and weeds is risky and those risks can make this otherwise “cheap” DIY weed-control method not worth pursuing. However, diesel will indeed kill weeds. It will also kill insects and bugs of all kinds as well as small and young animals. Spilled or sprayed diesel is also considered toxic waste by the EPA because not only will it kill these things, but it also creates an environment where it is difficult for things to grow and live for at least a year, depending on the severity of the spill.
How Long Does Diesel Take to Kill Weeds?
Diesel begins killing weeds on contact. It starts breaking down the waxy layer that makes up the exterior of the plant’s cell walls immediately. Once it breaks through, the plant begins taking damage it has no hope to repair. Within hours, the plant is on its way to death and within 2 days you can be confident that the weed will be dead down to its roots. However, if any diesel gets into the soil, any surrounding plants may also be dead by this point.
Can You Save Your Lawn After a Diesel Spill?
Wondering how to save your lawn after accidentally spilling diesel or applying a weed-killing diesel solution without being aware of the consequences? The process can be more difficult than you might think. Under average conditions, a small diesel spill (1 gallon or less over 3 square feet) will take 2 to 4 years to break down fully in the soil. In poor soil or colder areas, this can be extended to 5 to 8 years. During this time, plant life will struggle in this and the surrounding area.
How to Clean Up Diesel on Grass
The best way to clean up a diesel spill is to remove the contaminated dirt as quickly as possible and either dispose of it or find a safe, contained place for it to decompose. If you have spilled diesel, place a thick tarp, several layers of cardboard, or a heavy-duty container next to the spill. Then use a shovel to carefully place the contaminated soil into the bin or onto the tarp or cardboard layers. This will help prevent the diesel from leaking into the surrounding soil. Do not touch the contaminated soil directly.
Fill the hole with a mixture of sand and clean fill dirt to help any remaining diesel disperse more evenly. It is safe to seed new grass on top of this area, though germination rates may be reduced and growth may be slow. Contact your local hazardous waste disposal center in your city for instructions on what to do with the contaminated soil.
Diesel Will Kill Your Weeds and Your Lawn
Diesel is a toxic substance and poison with the potential to kill most of the organisms it comes into contact with. This includes grass, weeds, trees, insects, and small or young animals. The fumes from diesel fuel are also dangerous to all of these creatures, as well as humans.
If you do spill diesel by accident, wear protective equipment including a respirator, thick gloves, and eye protection. Take all precautions you can to keep people and animals away from the affected area for 4+ days and, in the case of a spill, contact your local hazardous waste disposal center or professionals. If you live in the US, remember that diesel spills must be cleaned up as quickly as possible to avoid fines as well as damage to your lawn and the local environment.