The Importance of Safe Chemical Application

As discussed in the first paragraph of the post “Weed Control for Home Lawns and Gardens” the selective chemicals can potentially be as or more dangerous to humans than they are to foliage. All the products mentioned in that post are intended to be used in accord with the label and must be respected.

Chemical labels typically have the signal words like: “CAUTION” “WARNING” or “DANGER!”  These indicate the relative hazard of the products.

When a label says “CAUTION” it means it is the least hazardous to humans, while “DANGER” is the most hazardous to humans. This is true for all chemical products including those around the household.

Whenever applying any of these chemicals, especially for the first time, you should protect yourself against the concentrate and the mixed product.  While these products are safer in their diluted rates after mixing with water and also after drying in the garden, do not underestimate the safety required to apply and handle these commercial chemicals.

Because these chemicals are concentrated and at their strongest prior to mixing with water, be sure to put on goggles, rubber gloves, and long sleeves before opening or handling any open containers or bags.  A dust mask and rubber boots are suggested but not usually necessary. Read the label in advance as it will dictate the precautions!

Along with the specified safety equipment, the equipment required to apply the granular herbicide and the fertilizer would be a broadcast spreader such as a Whirlybird.  The liquid chemicals would be best applied through one or two gallon pump sprayers.  It is recommended to have different sprayers for the different chemicals.  Since spot spraying may be necessary from time to time, it may be useful to label the sprayers with a felt pen and store unused diluted portions for subsequent use within the containers.  Do not rinse containers into storm drains or sewers.

Also, you can purchase colorants to add to the chemical solutions so that you can easily see the area and amounts that have been sprayed.  The spray colorants are inexpensive and dissipate in the sunlight within a few days.

Disclaimer: These tips are intended to be informative in a general sense but in no way are to be construed as a recommendation for use of any pesticide or product. Recommendations are general and will vary for each unique landscape.