Herbicide Applications Gone Wrong

Applying herbicides incorrectly can pose harm to people, pets, plants and the environment. People who apply pesticides for many years tend to create a false relationship with these poisonous chemicals by not taking the necessary pre-cautions to protect themselves. When reading herbicide label, we should not only look for dilution rate but also for what personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used.

What’s the risk of not wearing PPE? Having not wearing gloves means that the herbicide has a likelihood of getting in contact with the skin. It is important to remember that herbicides are poisonous; it poison the weeds, it can all poison people. The next big mistake is that herbicides get in contact with the applicator’s clothing; he takes home the contaminated clothes and washed them with the rest of the family laundry. Don’t share your poison! When applying pesticides, always wear head gear, eye glass, and don’t smoke or eat.

For many people, pets have become a member of the family. Herbicides can also affect pets if they enter surfaces that are freshly treated with herbicides. Pets lick on plants that are wet with herbicides or step on surface and bring residue in the house.

A major problem is that people use herbicides incorrectly which harm to the environment. Do not apply pesticide within 24 hours of a rain event, it will end up in water bodies. Do not apply herbicides on a windy day, it will cause chemical drift which ends up in lakes, on unintended plants, on people and other things.

As an extension agent, I often receive calls from homeowners saying that their lawn got killed by herbicides. Sometimes people even call saying their neighbors sprayed herbicides on their plants at night. Improper application of herbicides often lead to plant injuries. Some examples of improper uses are; equipment putting out too much liquid, daytime temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, herbicide was not made for that species of plant, and applicator did not follow dilution rate on herbicide label.

For more information on plant disease and any other related horticulture topic, contact Grantly Ricketts at UF/IFAS Extension in Osceola County at 321-697-3000 or email at gricketts@ufl.edu

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