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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Know Your Pest Control Methods

R. L. Rhodes
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Pest control sprayer.

When you want to rid your lawn and landscape of pests, it’s important to know the most efficient way to target the offending pests. Chemical pesticides are, by nature, harmful agents, so you’ll want to closely control where you apply them and in what quantities. Poorly planned pesticide applications can result in dead garden plants, sick pets or family members, and environmentally harmful run-off. Knowing the most common modes of application can help you make the right decision.

For most pest problems around the home, the most efficient tool is a hand-held sprayer, like the diaphragm pump sprayers from Echo. Because they only spray when you squeeze the trigger, it’s easier to deliver a measured dose of pesticide right where it’s needed.

For larger properties, you may need a bit more power behind your sprayer. A compressed air sprayer will send a sustained spray across an entire area. You can get similar flow (usually at lower pressures) using a garden-hose attachment to apply pesticides.

So what goes in the sprayer? Chemical pesticides come in several forms. Oil solutions suspend the insecticidal agent in oil, which is convenient for delivery but might also damage some surfaces, like asphalt or linoleum. Direct the spray carefully when applying.

Solutions and concentrates are liquid agents that need to be diluted in precise quantities before application — consult the label closely to get the ratio correct.

When shopping for the right pesticide, make sure to pick one that not only treats the offending pest without harming the plants in your yard, but also that it works with the sprayer you’ll be using.

Finally, there are granule-based pesticides, in which the chemical agent has been applied to solid particles like clay. These pesticides can be applied to your landscape using a spreader to ensure evenness.

Unless the label instructs you to do otherwise, it’s generally best to use the finest spray setting offered by your sprayer.

Because pesticide sprays are subject to changes in wind direction, it’s always best to wear proper safety equipment when spraying — rubber gloves and protective eye wear are a must. Bathe thoroughly when you’re done, and wash your work clothes separately from other laundry.

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