Pesticide use in the lawn and garden

·4 min read
Haley Zynda
Haley Zynda

In Extension, we do a lot of work with pesticides and fertilizers, however, most of the information is targeted for large-scale farmers with pesticide licenses that require recertification every three years.

But, what about the homeowner? What kind of general-use pesticides are available for use in the lawn and garden?

Forages and finances: Financial aspect of alternative forages

Well, let us first talk about pesticides in general. The term “pesticide” refers to a class of chemicals that can kill or prevent pest infestations. There are several categories within the pesticide umbrella – insecticides (for use on insects), herbicides (for use on weeds or other unwanted vegetation), fungicides (for use on fungal disease), rodenticides (for use on rodents), miticides (for use on mites) and molluscicides (for use on slugs and snails).

It’s important to first choose the correct type of pesticide for the problem at hand, and secondly, to use it properly.

Make sure you choose the correct treatment

To select the correct pesticide, the problem must first be identified, and identified correctly (that is where Extension or the Master Gardeners can help, but that is a conversation for a different day).

There is nothing more frustrating than “treating” a problem, only to end up with a treatment that didn’t work because the supposed problem ended up being something different.

Let’s dive into insecticides. These chemicals can be of help when cultural and biological control methods just are not enough to control the ants, aphids, earwigs, moths, and any other insect that may be plaguing your home, lawn or garden.

Now, just make sure the insect you’re targeting, actually is the insect you’re targeting. In the world of insects, there are plenty of lookalikes and similar species. Don’t confuse a stink bug with a squash bug or a disease for a leafminer insect.

Everyone knows the product Sevin (used moving forward for example purposes only and not promotion), is advertised to control over 500 different insects. But did you know it is not recommended for Colorado potato beetle in certain parts of the country due to resistance? Knowing what works and what doesn’t work can help you better control a problem.

Product booklets filled with good information

Now, let’s use it properly. Each pesticide is outfitted with a pesticide label that is created by the EPA. Granted, the label is more like a booklet, but it is full of wonderful information on how to use the product. Further, that label is the law. Application rates, crop usage and pre-harvest intervals are all pieces of information that need to be followed in order to be in accordance with the law.

For example, if you were to apply 2.5 quarts of Sevin per acre on sweet corn, that would be against label instructions (sweet corn rate 1 to 2 qt/acre not to exceed 16 qt in one crop). If you were to apply the pesticide at the correct rate the day before harvest, that would also be against label instructions (pre-harvest interval of 2 days).

If you are growing a vegetable or other edible crop, following the pre-harvest interval is essential. Some intervals are as long as 60 days for sunflowers harvested for seed, 2 weeks for leafy greens, and 3 days for cucurbits (melons, cukes and squashes).

Speaking of labels and keeping the consumer of the crop safe, it’s also important to keep yourself safe when applying the product. Most pesticides are harmful if ingested, inhaled or exposed to skin and eyes. Make sure to wear gloves and protective eyewear and don’t breathe too deeply too close to heavy applications of pesticides. Better yet, wear a protective mask. Pesticides are safe to use when used correctly.

Forages for Horse Pasture, Small Grains Field Day

A Forages for Horses Pasture Walk will be held on Tuesday, June 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the ATI Equine Facility. Topics will include fescue toxicosis and poisonous weeds, rotational grazing, and pasture evaluation. Dinner will be provided. Registration is requested for preparation of materials and catering. Cost to attend is $15 if registered by June 1 and $20 if registered between June 1 and June 6. Please call 330-264-8722 to register.

Wayne County Extension will host a Small Grains Field Day 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14. Topics covered will include wheat cultivars, disease identification and management, cereal leaf beetle management and much more.

The event is free thanks to the generosity of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Board, but we ask you register by June 7 for catering orders. Please call 330-264-8722 to register or head to go.osu.edu/small-grains-field-day.

Haley Zynda is an Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources for Ohio State University Extension. She can be reached at 330-264-8722 or zynda.7@osu.edu.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Record: Pesticides aren't just for large-scale farms