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
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.
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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.
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.
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. : )
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