Importance of Pesticide Labels
Sooner or later a disease or insect may attack your houseplants, garden, lawn, shrubs, trees, or flowers. If you want to use a pesticide or other garden product, you need to know that some garden products can harm plants, animals, people and the environment if not used correctly. The product label is your most important source of information. Over 140 tests are required to receive and maintain an EPA product label registration. A new pesticide costs $60 million or more to development and takes 8-10 years from discovery to label registration. All of this registration information is on the product label. The label tells you 1.) How to apply the product safely and effectively, 2.) How to store the product, 3.) First aid instructions to use in case of an accident, 4.) Phone numbers to call for more information or in case of an emergency.
Before looking for a garden product, first identify the problem. Is the symptom caused by a mineral deficiency, a disease, an insect, or something else? If you have any doubt about the cause of the problem, contact a nurseryman or the Master Gardeners. The Master Gardener "Help Desk" is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to noon to answer your questions on home gardening and pest control. This service is free of charge and is staffed by experienced gardeners who are highly trained to answer your questions. For advice call (925)646-6586 or come to 75 Santa Barbara Road , Second Floor, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. Samples of insects, we eds and diseased plants may be taken to the office for diagnosis.
After you have identified the problem, find the product that solves that problem. All products are effective on different problems. The labels will tell you what each product is meant to do and how each should be applied to be effective. Look for a narrow-band product that solves your particular problem without causing wider negative effects. Broad-band pesticides are designed to kill a wide range of plants and insects - both good and bad.
Once you find the right product, only buy as much as you need. A larger size is not a good value if you can not use it. Some products loose their effectiveness if stored for long periods. Improperly stored products can become contaminated or leak.
Product labels tell you how to use the products for best results. Use only the amount indicated on the label. More is not better and can harm your plants. If the label tells you to mix a product in another container, mix only what you will use, and use all that you mix. If this isn't possible, store any mixture in a new container that is properly labeled to prevent mistakes.
Follow label directions about wearing gloves and protective clothing. Learn when and how to apply the product and when it is safe for people and pets to re-enter treated areas. Learn how long to wait before picking treated fruits and vegetables.
Lawn and garden products that run into ponds, creeks, or other water supplies can contaminate drinking water and kill fish, birds, and insects. Products must be applied in accordance with label directions to prevent harm to the environment. Never pour lawn and garden products outdoors or down the sink or toilet. Take them to the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility at 4797 Imhoff Place in Martinez . The facility is free to Concord residents and is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The telephone number for more information is 1-800-646-1431.
Pesticides can be used safely and effectively only if label directions are closely followed. Irreparable damage or death to plants, animals, people and the environment can result if label directions are not followed.