An Health and Saftey Warning
User habits surveys for 2007 and 2010 indicate that gardeners don’t always use, store and dispose of pesticides correctly. If you use pesticides, you are responsible for using these chemicals correctly and effectively. We must keep our gardens and allotments safe for children, pets and wildlife.
When I was working for Lambeth Council back in 1980 all the employers had to pass a strict pesticide course lasting a year this was a tough course but it made you aware of the dangers of the product and how to safety apply it.
But looking on the prospective of the member of the public these rules no longer apply as most products you buy claim to safe to the environment if you follow the instructions to letter
But with this scare of slugs pellets and weed killer getting into our water I don’t think the news is getting across
So I’ll tell you how to apply herbicides or pesticides safely
- Read the Label ( I know it obvious & that you think you know it all but you don’t) How many of you put weed killer down then double dose the plant again . This is all wrong the formulation is worked out in the lab. for maximum effect and by double dosing you are probably increasing the salinity of the soil.
- Calibrate – What I do if using a sprayer is to fill up the water with water and go over the plant or ground first making sure that plant is soaked ie beginning dripping or that ground is covered with spray .
I then see how much water i used and then do a simple division to find out how much chemical i actually use use all the instructions say 4 cap full to 1 litre or 1 gallon of water
- When using any chemical always use PVC gloves these are cheap and better than latex gloves that can rip and allow the chemical to get in touch with your skin
Note the tight cuffs around the wrist this makes sure that nn drips get on to your hands
- When mixing the chemical put in the some water first then add your chemical ( Some products have it all ready made up if so skip this ) and keep on stirring it until it dissolves then top up with the rest of water mixing it again .By doing this you have dissolved and mixed up all the chemicals
- If the there a slight breeze or wind blowing either wear a mask or try not to spray into the wind .( Note chemical spray can carry in the wind for miles without you knowing and with out a mask you likely to get some on your mouth )
- Although there are organic or biodegradable products that claim there are safe I always veer on the side of caution
How to calibrate your sprayer
The single most asked question in pesticide application is: “How much do I put in a knapsack?”
The answer is that it depends on the calibration of your sprayer. In short, how many square metres one sprayer full of water + pesticide will cover.
It is important that the correct amount of pesticide is applied per square metre, the amount of water much less so.
As every sprayer has a different capacity, different nozzles with higher or lower output, a different operator who works at a different speed and pumps at a higher or lower pressure, calibration is the only answer. Here is one simple way to do it:
1. Measure exactly one litre of water into an empty sprayer and prepare it for spraying.
2. On a dry hard surface where you can see the spray wet it, walk forward, continually spraying as you would normally operate until the sprayer is empty. Measure how many square metres you have covered. Let us assume that this might be for instance, 20 square metres.
3. If your sprayer is a 15 litre model you multiply its normal capacity (15) x 20 (area one litre covered) = 300 square metres. This is the area that a whole knapsack will treat.
4. To work out how much pesticide to measure into the sprayer is now very easy. Look at the application rate on the product label.
eg. Roundup ProBiactive is 5L (=5,000ml) per Hectare (10,000 sq. metres)
5. To calculate how much to measure into your sprayer:
For example: 300 (Area that one sprayer full will cover) x 5,000 (Pesticide application rate per hectare in millilitres) / 10,000 (One hectare in square metres) = 150 millilitres
Start your spraying
- Working up and down the plant making sure that both surfaces of the leaves are well coated and started to drip
- Always spray first thing in the morning this is done for several reasons ;-
- to avoid any harm to the pollinating insects
- and also the leaves spores will be fully opened
- The plant has time to recover after the spray and the leaves will be dry
- Avoid spraying any chemicals near water
For Weed Killer there is one simple rule DO NOT SPRAY NEAR WATER SURFACES
If you miscalculated and still have some chemical left NEVER EMPTY IT DOWN THE DRAIN
- After you have used a pesticide, make sure that the packaging is tightly closed or sealed to avoid spillage.
- Store pesticides in a safe place, out of reach of children and pets.
- Take particular care to store slug pellets safely to avoid accidental poisoning of children and pets – particularly dogs.
- Garden sheds and greenhouses are not ideal for storing pesticides as they can get very hot in summer or cold in winter. Pesticide products are best stored at an even temperature.
- If you store it carefully, any remaining pesticide will be effective for some years to come. You can check whether it is still legal to use by using there database
- NEVER STORE DILLUTED CHEMICALS
Concentrated pesticides that have been diluted and stored may not work as well when you next use them. It is also illegal to store pesticides that are unlabelled and not in their original container for safety reasons. Remember to only dilute enough for that day’s use.
Disposing of Chemicals
- Whether you’ve diluted it or not, never pour pesticides down a drain or any other water drainage system (e.g. sink or toilet) because of the risk of contaminating water and harming wildlife. You could face prosecution.
- Pesticide containers that have held concentrated product (i.e. requiring dilution before use) should be rinsed three times adding the washings to the final spray solution. The empty container can then be placed in household waste.
- Empty pesticide containers that have held Ready-to-Use product (i.e. trigger sprays) can be disposed of directly into your household waste.
- Other empty pesticide containers e.g. bags and cardboard boxes can also be disposed of in your household waste.
- Check the label for any other advice on disposal of the product or empty container.
- Health and Safety details on the use of chemicals
- Missoula officials detail city’s use of herbicides; critics cite safety concerns (missoulian.com)
- The science behind herbicides: why soft water is better (harveywatersofteners.co.uk)
- Agro Shelef: Replacing Chemical Pesticides With Natural Anti-Pest Vegetable Oils (triplepundit.com)
- Neonicotinoids harm birds and soil (telegraph.co.uk)
- Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm More than Just Honey Bees (natureworldnews.com)
- Homemade Weed Killer (greenenvy4ever.wordpress.com)