- Plant native vegetation wherever possible, natives require less water and are less likely to require chemical fertilization.
- When planting a new lawn, choose a pest –and disease– resistant variety (ask your nursery). Or better yet, choose a grass alternative.
Use Pesticides as a Last Resort
- Realize that it is not realistic to have a completely weed-free lawn.
- Instead of relying on conventional pesticides as our first line of defense against pests, consider them a last resort.
- Remember that baits and traps are available and offer a safer method of pest control.
- First try spot treating, digging up the weeds and sprinkling grass seed on any bare spots so weeds are crowded out and can’t fill in.
- Don’t mow grass too short; taller blades can shade the soil enough to prevent some weed seeds from germinating.
- Use corn gluten to prevent certain broadleaf weeds from germinating
- Use non-toxic alternatives to pesticides and organic gardening techniques whenever possible. Click here for a list of stores, searchable by county, that offer safer alternatives to pesticides, fungicides and herbicides as part of the Our Water Our World program.
Know What You Are Buying
- If you must use a pesticide, identify the pest and afflicted plant, and then choose a product labeled for use on the pest or plant (not all pesticides are effective against all pests).
- Buy ready-to-use products instead of concentrates. This avoids mixing and measuring that could result in spills.
- Aerosols may be the worst option you can choose for pest problems, they disperse chemicals in a way that significantly increases the risk of exposure to unintentional targets, including beneficial insects, birds, pets, and your family.
- Just because a product is purchased over-the-counter doesn’t mean that it has been tested for its ability to cause long term health or environmental damage.
Use Sparingly & Follow Directions
- Always read the label and use only the recommended amount.
- If the label suggests the use of protective gear, heed the advice. The use of gloves, for example, offers protection against having chemicals enter your blood stream through the skin.
- Never apply pesticides or fertilizers right before rainfall.
Store & Dispose of Pesticides Properly
- Pesticides should be stored in their original containers, well out of the reach of children or pets.
- All equipment used for mixing or application of a pesticide should be clearly marked and never used for any other purpose.
- It is only legal to dispose of pesticide containers in the trash if the container is less than five gallons in capacity and is completely empty (no free flowing liquid).
- Any water used to rinse application equipment should be applied like the pesticide.
- All excess hazardous waste and used containers should be disposed of at your local collection center.
- Remember that more is not better and that any surplus will have to be stored or disposed of.
- If you know that you only need a small amount of something, first check to see if it’s available at your local hazardous waste collection center.
Learn About Pesticides & Pesticide Disposal
National Pesticide Information Center
(800) 858-PEST - 24 Hour Hotline
Community Hazardous Waste Collection Center