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Pest, disease and weed control can be made easier with the targeted use of chemicals. Before using or even buying garden chemicals, it is important to read the label; this contains vital information on how to use the product safely and effectively.
Reading instructions and statutory conditions relating to use
Chemical products are used to control pests, diseases and weeds or to modify plant growth, e.g. rooting powders. When carefully used as directed by the manufacturer they are safe and effective.
Reading the label before you make a purchase means:
Gardeners should be aware that manufacturers sometimes use similar brand names and packaging for different types of pesticide so that it is easy to inadvertently use the wrong product. If a pesticide that is not approved for edible crops is used on herbs, vegetables or fruit it may be necessary to discard treated produce. Herbicides mistaken for insecticides and fungicides and inadvertently applied to garden plants can result in extensive and costly losses.
Much research is carried out by manufacturers to ensure chemicals are safe for users, consumers and the environment. Following label instructions means that gardeners can use products accurately without harm to themselves, others or their surroundings. Chemicals for organic use must also carry usage instructions.
It is illegal not to follow the instructions on the label. Although your Local Authority Environmental Health Officer is unlikely to raid potting sheds, it’s important that gardeners use chemicals lawfully.
These usually provide information on:
This section of the label normally includes:
The label should also provide the following information:
The manufacturers’ contact details, including a helpline telephone number, must also be included on labels. The MAPP or HSE number will assist the helpline staff in the event of queries. Helpline staff have access to all the data from research and can advise on their products.
Changes in pesticide legislation affects the availability of products, both in terms of being able to buy a certain product, and being able to use it in the garden.
For further information see:
Crop Protection AssociationHealth and Safety Executive: Garden Pesticides SearchWithdrawn chemicals (please note, this list does not include products that have simply been discontinued)
Chemicals: storing and disposingChemicals: using a sprayerChemicals: using safely and effectivelyChemicals: using them in gardensCrop Protection AssociationHealth and Safety Executive; home garden chemicalsWeeds: non-chemical control
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