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Pesticides & FertilizersCreeks Division

Plan Ahead

  • 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.

Buy Less

  • 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

(800) CLEAN-UP

Community Hazardous Waste Collection Center
(805) 882-3602

Last Updated: Aug 22, 2018
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