University of Illinois Extension
Bruce Spangeberg

These articles are written to apply to the northeastern corner of Illinois. Problems and timing may not apply outside of this area.

Stateline Yard & Garden

Use Pesticides Safely This Season

May 13, 1999

Now that yard and garden plantings are growing again, problems may start appearing. There are a variety of ways to manage insects, weeds, diseases, and other problems, both chemically and non-chemically. Throughout the 1999 growing season, keep reminding yourself to consider all methods of managing pests and if pesticides are needed; use extreme caution when using them.

Pesticides not only include insecticides; but herbicides, fungicides, insect repellents, animal repellents, and mice and rat control products. All of these are chemicals that will kill or inhibit some type of pest, whether it's an insect, weed, disease, or animal.

When specific pesticides are mentioned here as options for managing a plant problem, the statement "read and follow label directions" usually follows. Pesticide labels are federal documents, and it is illegal to use pesticides in a manner not specified on the product label. Read the pesticide label before purchasing, mixing, applying, and storing a pesticide. Labels specify what the pesticide may be used on, how to mix and apply it, and how to store the container.

Always make sure all your intended uses of the material are on the label. Even if you are trying to control the same pest, don't assume pesticides used on trees or lawns can also be used on vegetables and fruit plantings. Follow the rate given on the label for the type of plant the pesticide is being applied to. Never intentionally exceed the rate on the pesticide label!

Not sure when to harvest a crop after spraying? How long to wait making a follow-up application? Is the material toxic to bees? Check the label for this important information to avoid potential problems.

Avoiding pesticide movement onto nontarget areas is also very important. For example, use precautions to keep pesticides away from water or drifting onto other plantings in the vicinity. Don't spray when it's windy and watch carefully where the material is being applied.

Finally, be sure to protect yourself from exposure while mixing or applying pesticides. Wear unlined chemical resistant rubber or neoprene gloves. Cover exposed skin. Wash thoroughly when you're done and store both the pesticides and application equipment properly.


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