Master Gardener tips for the Panhandle – Week of June 6, 2022

By Kathy Tando, Nebraska Extension Master Gardener

The Label is the Law

You might not be handcuffed but you could face a hefty fine! When using any chemical the label is the law. Using a chemical in a manner that does not comply with the label is illegal. Products can change so even if it’s a chemical you have used in the past review the contents. Take note of what the label states regarding transportation, storage, application, and disposal of the chemical for safe practices.

Know the Chemical Product Terms

Know product terms when using chemicals. Might seem elementary but I had a neighbor give me a box of Preem because he didn’t think it was a very good fertilizer! Speaking of pre-emergents did you know there is a soil temperature required before the product will activate? Preem needs soil temps at least 52 degrees for 7 days and water to activate. Mistakes are expensive and using according to the label is the law. 

Accidents Happen but Be Informed

Accidents happen so be informed to minimize the damage. When using any chemical users must be familiar with the laws and guidelines governing spills. All pesticide wastes, including spilled material, must be disposed of in accordance with federal, state, and local laws. First and foremost protect yourself by wearing the recommended protective equipment. Consult the label as the stronger the chemical the more caution you need to take.      

How to Handle a Chemical Spill

How do you handle a chemical spill? Remember the three C’s   Control the spill, Contain the spill, and Clean up the spill. Wearing protective gear to avoid personal contact is important.  To contain liquid spills from spreading, materials such fine sand, vermiculite, clay of pet litter can be used. Check the label before using sawdust or a sweeping compound as the material may contain an oxidizer which if used could present a fire hazard.                   

Integrated Pest Management

Got a pest problem - Stop before you reach for that chemical. Integrated pest management (IPM) have less negative effects on the environment and on food quality. Specific techniques of IPM vary, depending on the pests and/or crops to be protected, but all IPM programs have similar components. To learn more Google IPM with the word extension following. This will get you trusted researched ideas of new approaches you may not have considered.