Are you the kind of person who likes to toss out the instructions and just dive into a project? When it comes to using pesticides and herbicides, however, it is extremely important to read the label. These labels contain information on how to optimize your results, but they are also present to help you safely, and legally, use the product.
Research the Issue
Your first step should always be to research the issue. Don’t simply trust the word of the sales associate at your local home improvement store—hop online! Your best chance for success it to research the problem and identify the best product possible.
Purchase the Products
You researched the issue and identified your specific needs. Now what? It’s time to purchase your products, but there are still factors you must consider before your purchase. Read the label. Does the product require you to purchase additional equipment, and are you willing to do that? Does the label indicate you can use the product in the area you need it? For example, do you need to treat the crabgrass around your coy ponds? If so, you need to ensure your product can be used around bodies of water. Always read the label thoroughly to uncover all restrictions and safety information.
Apply the Products
Now it is finally time to apply your product, right? Not quite yet. Remember reading the label before you purchased your product? Now, read it again. One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is to apply pesticide or herbicide at the wrong time. Some pesticides target specific stages in an insect’s life. Similarly, herbicides may only be effective during a certain weed growth stage. You’ll want to read the label to determine the best possible time to apply the product.
Product labels not only tell you how to use a product, but they tell you how to use it effectively safely. The label will also tell you the best way to safely store the product. If an accident should occur, the label provides basic first aid instructions. Additionally, you can often find appropriate numbers to call if you need more safety information, or worse, additional medical help.
Consequences of NOT Reading the Label
The greatest dangers when using pesticides and herbicides occur when the instructions are not properly followed. Here are some example of what can happen when you do not follow directions on the label:
1. Surface Runoff: Pesticides and herbicides run into bodies of water and kill or damage living organisms.
2. Groundwater Contamination: If improperly used, these products can dissolve into stormwater and end up in our groundwater.
3. Harm to Landscape: Most labels will explain when and where to apply the product. If these instructions are not followed, there is a higher potential to kill plants and grass you want to keep around.