When most people think of plant pesticides, they think of chemicals intended to control ‘obvious’ pests. An ant spray is a pesticide. Toxic bait for snails and slugs, or rodents are pesticide. However, in reality, the label of pesticide isn’t limited to things meant to remove bugs from our trees and gardens. Harmful fungal growth, weeds, and even growth regulating chemicals can all fall under ‘pesticide’.
A pesticide is any synthetic, natural, or organic solution that is used to control or kill pests, and there are many sub-categories.
The challenges of use
The use of pesticides is sometimes a necessity. Despite the best prevention efforts, some pests are more persistent than others. However, it is very easy to misuse plant pesticides. Too much can cause more harm to the plants you want to protect. The wrong kind of pesticide might be completely useless at dealing with your problem. These toxic chemicals can end up in water run-off, a hazard to other people.
Sometimes, other animals can be affected by a pesticide, and suffer serious harm or even death. A growing concern right now is the effect of pesticides on pollinators. And then there are the challenges about even using them to begin with. Protective equipment of some sort is needed to safely handle a pesticide. Winds can blow a spray mist onto unprotected skin, or even cause it to be accidentally inhaled. To avoid unintended side-effects, plant pesticides have to be used in specific ways, and in some cases at specific times of day.
Alternatives to plant pesticides
Prevention is the most successful way of stopping a pest from getting a foothold on your garden or trees. There are a variety of control methods that can be performed before resorting to these potentially harmful chemicals. Planting pest-resistant species, using mulch to prevent weed growth, or even using insects that feed on problematic parasites are options. Rather than spraying down aphids with a pesticide, a sharp spray of water can be just as effective at dealing with the problem. Using a stick to remove a nest of tent caterpillars could spare other beneficial organisms the wrath of toxic chemicals.
There is a lot to be concerned with when using any form of pesticide. Even after following instructions on labels, even after researching what could be affecting your trees or garden, you could misdiagnose the problem entirely. Ultimately, you could be treating the wrong problem with the wrong solution, and ruin your landscape in the process. Some pests are extremely damaging to trees, but the symptoms are easy to confuse with other problems.
If you’re dealing with a pest problem with the trees on your property, and are not certain about the solution, contact the qualified arborists at Fallen Leaf Tree Management. We’ll help you diagnose your problem accurately. If it comes down to using pesticides, you can rely on a trained professional to ensure that these chemicals are handled safely.
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