Every gardener wants to have an abundant crop at the end of the growing season. However, nature often gets in the way of that when insects and weeds take their toll on the garden. Gardeners are usually of two camps, those that use them and those that won’t. Everyone does agree that if pesticides are used, they should be used in the right way in order to protect the plants and people as well.
The most important rule about pesticides is to ALWAYS follow the directions and read the labels. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates and approves the labels on pesticides and ensures and manufacturers must meet certain criteria. In fact, gardeners who use pesticides are required by law to obey all the directions for use. The Department of Agriculture and the local Department of Natural Resources can issue citations for improper use or disposal.
Common items on a pesticide label include the type of pesticide, name and address of manufacturer, health warnings and environmental warnings, and directions for proper disposal. Pay attention when the label states that protective gear, such as face masks, must be worn during application in order to protect your health. Some pesticides come ready to use, while others have to be mixed with water, and need to be done so according to the instructions.
The fallout from improper pesticide use can range anywhere from a ruined crop to a contamination of ground water or a violation of the Endangered Species Act. Surrounding plants can be affected if the chemicals are not applied properly, and injury to nearby wildlife can occur, along with acute and chronic health problems for humans. Always be cautious when applying pesticides near where children play, as they are especially susceptible to injury. And of course, no gardener wants to inadvertently kill his crop instead of weeds and insects!