Reading Pesticide Labels

Learn why it's important to read the chemical label prior to pesticide use.
Related To:
GBY1810-4_Read-Pesticide-Label_s4x3

GBY1810-4_Read-Pesticide-Label_s4x3

When you buy a lawn and garden chemical, whether organic or synthetic, do you take the time to read the label? The label is law, which means that you assume the responsibility for using the chemical in the proper manner, based on the recommendations on the label.

The first thing you want to look for on a label is the signal word, and there are three of them: "caution," "warning" and "danger." These words refer to the acute toxicity of the chemical in question.

Chemicals labeled "caution" are the least toxic of the lot, although they may still pose a hazard. Those labeled "warning" are more toxic still, and those labeled "danger" are considered the most toxic of all.

The use of chemicals bearing the "danger" label are usually restricted to use by professionals who have passed a rigorous test and received an applicator's license.

Don't assume that so-called organic or all-natural products are necessarily safer to use. They are still chemicals, regardless of what others might suggest, and many of them can be just as hazardous as certain synthetic chemicals.

Beyond the toxicity issue, you also need to pay close attention to such things as proper dilution rates, application rates, protective clothing required and so on. Never assume that if the suggested dilution rate is two tablespoons per gallon, then four tablespoons must be twice as good. It doesn't work that way, and that approach can be deadly — to your plants and to you as well.

Also, never mix chemicals. Combining two pesticides, or an insecticide and an herbicide, for example, may make sense to you, but the two chemicals may react in unpredictable and potentially dangerous ways. Of course, one of the easiest ways to avoid the dangers of chemicals is to stop using them altogether.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How To Read a Pesticide Label

Find the critical pesticide information you need, when you need it.

Watering Lawns and Gardens

Thorough, careful watering encourages deep, drought-resistant roots in your lawn and garden. Follow the steps below to ensure best results.

Tips for Watering and Feeding Your Lawn

Keep your lawn healthy with these three top tips for maintaining your outdoor spaces year-round.

How to Repair Your Lawn Sprinkler

Learn how to inspect and replace damaged risers and heads in a lawn sprinkler system.

Cultivating an Allergy-Free Garden

Tips for reducing the sneeze-makers in your landscape.

Basic Lawn Care Tips

8 tips on keeping your grass green

Lawn Care During Drought

Try these tips for keeping grass green (or not) when water is scarce.

Caring for Your Lawn

Grow healthy green grass with these simple tips for lawn maintenance.

Tips for Watering Lawns and Gardens

Without adequate water, plants will suffer and eventually die. Supplies can run short as rapidly growing plants draw up moisture from the soil. It's important to know what to water and how.

How to Fertilize Your Lawn and Garden

Learn how adding fertilizer can be beneficial, especially for fruits, veggies and container plants. Fertilizers can also help kick-start growth after planting and reinvigorate plants that have been pruned hard.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.