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Are my apples safe to eat?

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Question:

My dog has been using the area under our apple tree as her toilet. Are the apples safe to eat?

Hardiness Zone: 10a

Kiki from Monterey, CA

Answer:

Kiki,

The apples growing on your tree should be safe to eat, but throw out any of the fruit laying on the ground. By throwing out I mean don't compost it, put it in the garbage, or at least compost it in a separate pile. Urine acts like a shot of concentrated fertilizer. It won't hurt your tree, but the salts will leave burn marks in your lawn. Although you tree won't absorb any toxin from them, your dog's feces are more of a serious health risk. Dog feces often contain worm eggs, which can easily survive composting and eventually end up back in your garden soil where they can become accidentally ingested via garden edibles. They also contain billions of coliform bacteria, which when left on the ground, is carried into storm drains, creeks and lakes when it rains. Unlike our human waste, which goes to water treatment plants or into septic systems, dog feces left on the ground eventually finds its way to local waterways (including well water and swimming beaches), and is a major contributor to water pollution. It also plays host to a number of undesirable insects.

Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By lynda [12]10/08/2006

It depends upon how HUNGRY FOR APPLES you are! LOL I caught my previous neighbor actually bringing his dog to my tree to relieve the dog late night for several nights.

When confronted, he looked shocked that I was offended. I thought it might kill the tree, but it had
absolutely NO effect whatsoever, and if it had produced fruit, I would have eaten it.

He planted two more exactly like mine but in HIS yard I suppose out of some sort of spite? However,
the placement of the trees in relation to the sun was overshadowed by mine and they seem stunted. Ironic. God forgive him. : )

By (Guest Post)10/07/2006

Fruit that has laid on the ground, where any animal might be using the bathroom, could have e-coli or other diseases or bacteria, which won't be removed by washing. I wouldn't use it for anything that won't be cooked thoroughly.

By (Guest Post)10/04/2006

Any fruit you pick off the tree should be safe to eat. lawn grass can get killed as result of Dog urine but that is because the roots of grass are generally within a half an inch below the surface. If you catch it at the time you can flush it with a garden hose, otherwise an application of gypsum will counteract any negative effect of dog urine on your lawn, but there should be no negative effect on your fruit crop.

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