Spring is here, and it’s time for a renewed focus on our yards, including how best to manage environmental pests that can damage trees and other plants. While most insect and disease problems cause no real harm to vegetation beyond tolerable, temporary cosmetic effects, those effects can be frustrating.
If you are readying to tackle a pest issue in your yard, here are some useful guidelines to help you do so in neighbor-friendly, minimally invasive manner.
The term pesticide includes herbicides for destroying weeds or unwanted vegetation, insecticides for controlling insects, and fungicides to control fungal disease. Pesticides can be applied in variety of ways, depending on the agent used and the pest problem being addressed.
Anyone applying pesticides is required by law to read and follow label instructions before each use and to store or dispose of properly. The directions will help you achieve “maximum” benefits with “minimum” risk. Read the label before buying the pesticide, read it before using it, and read it again before storing or disposing of the pesticide.
For trees, application methods such as soil drenches and trunk injections are preferable. Aerial spray applications are not as common, however some situations, such as prophylactic fungicide applications to large trees require it. Most aerial sprays are applied by professionals licensed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture or trained and under the supervision of a licensed applicator.
When using a pesticide:
- Read and follow the label directions.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Don’t smoke or eat.
- Mix and apply only the amount you need.
The following guidelines apply to “do it yourself” applicators and professionals alike.
- Know what pesticide is being used and verify it is appropriate.
- Know when the application is scheduled. Monitor weather conditions before, during, and after spraying, postponing if necessary.
- Avoid applying insecticides just before or during plant bloom – neighborhood honeybees and other pollinators are very sensitive to some pesticides.
- Give adjacent neighbors at least a day’s notice, so they can close windows, put away children’s toys, cover pools, bring pets inside, etc. Scientists don’t have a clear understanding of the health effects of pesticide residues, but some evidence suggests children are susceptible to adverse effects from pesticide exposure.
- Tell your contractor to avoid drift from your property.
- Should accidental drift occur from your property, notify your neighbor ASAP and wash off affected targets.
- Ask your contractor to leave literature about the product used in case neighbors have questions.
Alternatively, you could explore other tree care options to restore plant health with a Certified Arborist. If the problem persists, is the tree is worth keeping? Consider a replacement that is right for the site, to avoid problems caused by environmental stress factors.
For more information, contact the Parks & Forestry Division, at 614-583-5340.