Weed killers, also known as herbicides, are usually fast-acting and will kill an unwanted garden plant in as little as 12 to 24 hours. Unfortunately, sometimes the weed killer is accidentally sprayed on other plants. It is possible to save these plants from the damaging effects of the weed killer, but only if quick action is taken.
Turn on a garden hose and spray the foliage and stem of the plants thoroughly with the water. The goal is to remove as much of the weed killer from the surface of the plants as possible. Make sure to spray the underside of the leaves to remove any weed killer that may have dripped there.
Point the garden hose toward the soil of the plant and thoroughly soak the ground surrounding the plant. If you see the water pooling at the surface and running off, it is a good sign because it's removing the weed killer from the soil. The goal is to soak the soil to dilute the weed killer enough so that it does not damage the plant.
Wait until the next day and examine the plant for signs of damage. If you notice damage on the upper leaves, use pruning shears to cut off all leaves and branches of the plant that show signs of weed killer damage.
If the plant continues to decline after the initial flushing with water and pruning, the dosage of weed killer was too high, and there is nothing you can do to save it.
Do not plant new plants in the herbicide-affected area immediately, as they too will be affected by the weed killer in the soil.
Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.