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Published: Saturday, 6/18/2011

Choose Right, Use Right: Tips For Safe And Effective Use Of Pesticides And Fertilizers

(ARA) - It's that time of the year again when millions of do-it-yourself homeowners face the challenges of keeping problem insects and weeds away from home gardens and yards -- while staying within the family budget.
The pesticides and fertilizers available at local hardware and home improvement stores are designed specifically to help with these tasks, but choosing the right products and using them correctly is something every homeowner must consider.
"Nothing is more rewarding than picking healthy, home-grown vegetables, or enjoying a healthy lawn or a pest-free outdoor space with family, friends and pets," says Allen James, president of RISE (Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment), a national organization representing the manufacturers, formulators and distributors of pesticide and fertilizer products. "The range of products available to homeowners is vast, but you have to use the ones that are right for your specific situation and use them responsibly."
Here are some basic guidelines to help homeowners choose the right products and use them correctly: 
Identify the problem. Different pesticides and fertilizers are formulated to work in various ways, so positively identifying the problem is vital. If this is unclear or unknown, ask a qualified expert or local extension agent.
Determine the best method of control. Research the best, most effective, most economic solution to the specific problem at hand. Sometimes pesticides or fertilizer products are the answer, other times a different solution might be appropriate.
Read and follow all label directions. If pesticides or fertilizers are needed, remember the label is the law. Read the label carefully for mixing and application instructions, as well as other precautionary information such as wearing proper clothing or product drying time after application.
Use only what is needed. Measure, mix and use the right amount of product needed for the task at hand. Don't over-apply, but don't under-apply either. Read the directions and follow them to the letter.  
Store products in a clean, dry area. Always store any unused pesticide or fertilizer products away from weather or direct sunlight. Make sure all products are stored out of reach of kids and pets.
"The right pesticide or fertilizer can make all the difference, but each situation is unique," James says. "We have the right to choose the products we use, but we also have the duty to use them responsibly."
Pesticides and fertilizers are designed to improve quality of life. If used properly, they are a helpful tool. They control, kill or moderate unwanted and dangerous pest populations ranging from stinging insects to vegetable-destroying fungus to noxious weeds, and they help to minimize the risks posed to homeowners, families, pets and property.
When used according to label directions and applied as directed, they have the potential to make a substantial positive impact on the productivity and usability of gardens and green spaces around the home. Improper use and careless handling can cause unnecessary, avoidable complications. Make sure all products are selected and used with care. Courtesy of ARAcontent

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