Are Garden Chemical compounds SAFE? | The Garden Care Nut

I had a query are available in from considered one of our members in Yard Care BootCamp and I believed the reply would profit lots of you because it’s one we get very often at Yard Mastery.

Are lawn chemicals safe?

JF asks:
“Hello – I wish to begin utilizing the YM fertilizer, weed management, and bio-stimulants however I have to get a stable understanding of the product security as we’ve a 1-year-old that performs within the yard so much. I believe I can clarify the fertilizer and bio-stim security (simply including extra of pure components, proper?).

However, what about weed management (pre and put up emergent)? How would you clarify the protection of those merchandise to somebody to make them really feel comfy about utilizing it? Particularly somebody who sees all of it and simply thinks of Roundup being linked to most cancers danger.

Notice, I am planning to make use of the all-granular program this yr, and perhaps attempt the hybrid subsequent yr. Since this can be a common query throughout a number of classes I believed I might simply put up on this part since I’ve a cool season garden. Thanks!”


I noticed this query late Saturday morning this previous weekend and typed out this response that I’ve now cleaned up for this e mail – listed below are my ideas:

Are Garden Chemical compounds Secure?

That is at all times a difficult dialog, but additionally one that’s necessary to have with your loved ones.

Let me first cowl the Yard Mastery Fertilizers – you might be appropriate these are simply vitamins. Nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, chelated iron, manganese, zinc and magnesium – all components that help wholesome turf progress. They’re synthetically derived vitamins – form of much like how one can take a each day multivitamin (artificial) and get 100% of most belongings you want otherwise you ca eat a complete produce part to get what you want. That’s the “artificial vs pure” nutrient analogy I’ve at all times used.

We do have a pure additive in our ferts known as “Bio-Nite” which is in each bag and is the Florida model of Milorganite. I embrace this as a method to feed the microbes within the soil and add carbon.

Bio-Stimulants are basically carbon supplies and sea kelp blended with varied vitamins in several formulations. The first components within the bio-stimulants are humic substances, sea kelp and varied vitamins like iron, nitrogen and potassium.

One of many formulations, De-Thatch, makes use of molasses to draw microbes into the thatch layer to eat it. That one is supposed to be utilized in the summertime, on the most well liked days.

These bio-stimulants have been utilized by farmers and pure gardeners for a few years and finally, the purpose with them is to enhance the soil’s capacity to carry water and vitamins over time. Wholesome soil is the muse of a wholesome garden.

There aren’t any pesticides in any of them.

Aspect word: don’t be frightened of the phrase “chemical” usually. In any case, water, H2O is a chemical. So is vinegar which is CH3COOH. I normally keep away from the phrase chemical as a result of it’s too common to explain most issues, however I’ll use it on this article simply so as to add context.

Pesticides – The Chemical compounds That Kill

Now let’s get to the scary chems, the “ides” as I name them. I’m speaking about Pesticides.

The phrase “pesticide” actually means “to kill pests.” You realize the “ides” we use most frequently that are Herbicides (vegetation killer), Pesticides (insect killer) and Fungicides (fungus killer). Right here’s how I’ve at all times approached their use:

In the beginning, at all times learn the label of the product you might be making use of and observe it. Learn it earlier than each software, even in case you’ve utilized the product earlier than, learn the label, each time. There you will see that data on re-entry durations (how lengthy to maintain folks and pets off), temperature or wind restrictions, if the product must be watered in, with how a lot and the way quickly… or not watered in in any respect. You’ll additionally get situation suggestions akin to timing of purposes as preventive or healing.

You’ll study so much whenever you learn the label. And that can translate to confidence. Confidence results in high quality purposes and due to this fact higher outcomes. Having top quality gear that you’re conversant in can also be necessary. When you study your gear, you’ll make higher high quality purposes.

High quality, correct purposes deliver higher outcomes which suggests fewer followup purposes are wanted, lowering total chemical utilization.

PPE (private protecting gear) is necessary as effectively. It’s normally lengthy pants, lengthy sleeves, eye safety, socks + footwear and rubber gloves for stuff I make the most of and advocate. That’s fairly typical for the stuff in my applications.

All of that is on the label for motive. Good folks (like EPA sensible folks) have discovered that in case you observe these tips it presents “minimal danger.”

Built-in Pest Administration

Now there may be additionally an strategy to garden care that I follow known as Built-in Pest Administration (IPM). Briefly, IPM states that you just solely use the pesticide when it’s completely obligatory and whenever you do use them, select the bottom influence approach.

In JF’s instance above, he requested about pre and put up emergent herbicides and he has a cool season garden.

Pre-Emergent Herbicides

So for instance, with prodiamine pre-emergent – it’s a herbicide and it’s a giant a part of our technique with cool season lawns as a result of it stops crabgrass. As soon as watered in, prodiamine leaves a vapor barrier just under the soil floor. That barrier stops the crabgrass by interrupting cell division within the younger crops. Here’s a detailed weblog put up I wrote about how prodiamine works.

Prodiamine in spring is a defensive technique in opposition to weeds, primarily crabgrass in cool season lawns.

In following IPM practices, proper off the bat, I can inform you that I do not advocate making use of prodiamine in closely shaded areas of the garden. That’s as a result of crabgrass would not develop within the shade usually, so I do not use prodiamine herbicide the place it’s not wanted. That is placing much less “kilos on the bottom” and is an instance of IPM. It additionally saves cash.

One other method to follow IPM with prodiamine is discount over the seasons. I’ve discovered from expertise that after 3-4 years of use, with the assistance of a thick garden, you possibly can just about eradicate crabgrass in your garden all collectively.

Taking part in protection for that 3-4 years actually provides the big proportion of the seeds in your soil the possibility to germinate and hit that barrier so they can’t reproduce. Annually, the next generations are lighter and lighter as new seeds will not be being dropped. So you possibly can cease utilizing prodiamine pre-emergent after 3 years or so. That’s IPM in motion.

Submit Emergent Herbicides

Staying with crabgrass as our instance, there can and shall be “escapees” that make it by way of the prodiamine barrier. Crabgrass is usually discovered alongside edges the place turf meets concrete. It’s crucial when this occurs that you just be prepared at hand pull or spot spray quinclorac on these escapees early, earlier than they’ll go to seed. (Video on the life-cycle of crabgrass)

Are you able to see how the Built-in Pest Administration strategy is coming into play and lowering chems total and by default, lowering danger?

We will additionally take a look at put up emergent weed killers (herbicides).

These will be scary as a result of they’ve a particular odor. One of many weed controls I like to recommend is known as Triad Choose and it’s obtained a tried and true 3-way mixture of lively components that work effectively on broadleaf weeds in cool season lawns. The three actives are 2,4-D, MCPA and dicamba. These are auxin herbicides and their odor when sprayed is distinctively “chemically smelling” (technical terminology there! Ha ha!)

I really just like the odor of auxin herbicides, however I’m a nut! And also you should not point out that in your security discuss with your loved ones both! And what you’ll discover is that I nearly at all times advocate you management weeds post-emergent by mixing concentrated liquids like Triad Choose into water and spot or zone spray the weeds. Approach again in my well-known church garden collection you possibly can see me utilizing a related weed management (retailer purchased) and instructing you about zone spraying.

I’m not a fan of the standard granular “weed and feed” that you just discover on the cabinets of HD and Lowes. It doesn’t match into my IPM strategy.

Weed and Feed – Not Built-in Pest Administration

A “weed and feed” is fertilizer blended with weed killer in granular kind.

I do not advocate these as a result of most often, weeds will not be masking 100% of a garden. They’re usually in patches or zones. So I like to recommend mixing a focus in water and spot spraying with liquid fairly than broadcasting weed killer over your entire garden even in areas the place it isn’t wanted.

With a granular weed and feed, you haven’t any management over this, it’s a must to throw the herbicide all over the place. Whenever you use liquid and spot spray, you scale back the general “kilos on the bottom” of herbicide and in my view, liquids work significantly better on broadleaf weeds than do granular put up emergent herbicides anyway.

With post-emergents, timing can even scale back your use! In case you get on prime of the weeds diligently, they won’t reproduce (go to seed) and you may eradicate them to the purpose the place you solely have at hand pull sooner or later.

Following this purpose, you possibly can scale back your herbicide utilization to just about nothing in 3 years or so.

And this doesn’t even point out the significance of mowing. In case you take your mowing as much as twice per week you’ll scale back some weeds simply by reducing off their capacity to to go seed. This additionally helps the garden to get thicker and we all know that rising a thick garden is the last word method to scale back your use of herbicides. If all of the area within the soil is taken up with grass roots, there shall be little to know room for weed roots.

After which that brings us again round to the fertilizers and bio-stimulants. These enable you to obtain that thicker garden, faster, once more, lowering herbicide utilization and becoming into our IPM strategy.

It’s Okay To Have Some Weeds In The Garden

One other factor that’s neglected is that it’s okay to simply stay with some weeds within the garden. You do not have to kill all of them – I’ve weeds in my garden too – all of us do, so you possibly can scale back the quantity of herbicides you’re utilizing simply by being keen to stay with some weeds that you just hand pull when you’re mowing. In case you pull 10 weeds each weekend that’s 300 weeds in 30 weeks of mowing. That can make a HUGE distinction, chemical free!

Bringing This All Collectively

In case you make it your purpose to cut back and even eradicate using pesticides in your garden, then the dialog you’ve with your loved ones adjustments. As an alternative of making an attempt to persuade somebody on why chemical compounds are secure or not, it’s extra about utilizing them to start with, as wanted, with the intention to cut back and eradicate them in time.

On the finish of the day, I can’t inform anybody that utilizing pesticides is “secure.” I actually can’t say that about something in life. I do know people who find themselves allergic to peanuts, even natural peanuts.

However what I can do is current to you one of the simplest ways I do know to go about utilizing them in a accountable method that can nonetheless get you outcomes with the last word purpose being a thicker garden, and a discount or elimination of pesticides all collectively. That is very achievable, particularly with a cool season garden the place winter serves as a reset button each season.

Throw’er down, and hope for one of the best.

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