Use of Pesticides and Fertilizers
Got a bug problem? Weeds growing like, well, weeds? Trying to grow your grass? When it's time to use pesticides or fertilizers, always select the correct product and read and follow label directions. When it comes to pesticides, the label is the law. Careful review of the label instructions will make sure the product is used safely and will do the job it's intended.
Before sprinkling or spraying, review the label reader and ask yourself these questions. You can even print off this list and take it with you to where you purchase granular or liquid lawn and garden care products. You'll be happy you did - the pests will not.
Always read and follow all label directions. This is the most important step.
What insect, weed or other pest are you trying to control? What is the problem in your lawn? The label will tell you which product best fits the needs of your lawn and where it can be used. Resources such as the National Pesticide Manufacturers Association's pest gallery can be helpful in this process. Also check with your local extension agent if you have questions about what's bugging you.
How big is your lawn? What treatment are you applying? Select the product that meets the needs of your lawn and buy only what you need.
Do you need a spreader to apply the product? Do you have a large area to cover? If you have a small, localized problem consider a ready-to-use spot treatment. Follow product label directions for spreader and spot applications. If you have questions about using the product after reading the label contact the manufacturer using the telephone number on the label.
How can you help protect our water resources? Keep granules on the lawn. Sweep any granules landing on driveways, streets, sidewalks and other hard surfaces back onto the lawn. Clean the spreader on the lawn.
Before applying, prepare the part of the lawn or home you'll be treating. Keep kids and pets at a distance until the product dries, or as long as the product label suggests. Have absorbent materials nearby in case the product is spilled and always wash your hands after applying a pesticide. Any and all questions about the product and its use can be answered by contacting the manufacturer as indicated on the label.
It's important to remember that the pesticide industry is among the most highly regulated by the federal government. But, just like products used to clean or disinfect or over-the-counter drugs, improper use can create risk.
You've treated your pest problem. Now what? Part of proper pesticide usage is proper storage. After using an insecticide, herbicide or fertilizer, store it in a safe location where it remains untouched until the next time you use it. Find a place that meets these criteria:
- Store pesticides out of reach of children and pets and away from food
- Always store pesticides in their original containers in a cool, dry place
- Protect the directions on the package by covering them with clear tape
- Write the date of purchase somewhere on the container