Lawn Care Products

What You Should Know About Lawn Care Products

How safe are the lawn care pesticides used by lawn care professionals and homeowners?

Homeowners should be aware that the use of pesticides does pose some risk, and their use cannot be made completely safe. The level of risk posed by a chemical depends on its toxicity and the level of exposure. Improper or inappropriate use of pesticides and other lawn care products by either the homeowner or the lawn care professional can increase the level of exposure, which in turn increases the level of risk posed to human health and the environment.

What can I do to minimize any risks to me or my family?

The simplest way to minimize risk is to limit your exposure to pesticides. We feel that the best way to do this is by using a professional service, such as LawnAmerica. We know how to correctly use the products, and will do so in a professional manner. If you apply pesticides yourself, read the entire label and follow all instructions, especially protective clothing requirements. Be sure to store all pesticides securely and out of the reach of children and pets. Regardless of whether you or a professional applies the pesticide, keep people and pets off the treated lawn immediately following use.

Although many products used on home lawns have no specific reentry recommendations prescribed by the product label, a good rule of thumb is to stay off a treated area until it has thoroughly dried, or longer, following a pesticide application. Some granular pesticide labels recommend, or require, that the materials be watered in. In this case, the area should not be entered until after the watering I completed and the area is completely dry.

Do lawn care professionals use products that pose greater risks than those used by the homeowner?

The pesticides regularly used by lawn care professionals, such as Lawn America are usually the same as “general use” products available to the homeowner. Licensed lawn care professionals occasionally use “restricted use” products (materials not available to the general public) to solve pest problems that are not responsive to general use products. Lawn care products are generally labeled with the same rate, the same precautions, and the same usage information whether packaged for personal or commercial use. The products purchased by the lawn care professional may be packaged in concentrates for shipping convenience and economy. But, before these products are applied to a lawn, they are diluted to the same strength as the ready-to-use products sold directly to the homeowner.

Who regulates lawn care products and services?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
All lawn care products that contain pesticides must be registered with EPA before they can be lawfully sold. EPA registration means that pesticide registrants have submitted required scientific data concerning the risks associated with the use of the pesticide.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC has regulatory powers covering advertising in any medium. The FTC requires that all advertising materials and claims be scientifically accurate while not being deceptive to the consumer.

State Governments
All States require licensing and testing before a company can apply pesticides commercially. All of our technicians are state-certified.

What do the terms “natural” and “organic” mean with regard to lawn care products?

Natural
A product derived from animal/biological, mineral or plant sources, in a form substantially as it occurs in nature. The materials may be altered or manipulated to put them in a physical form that allows them to be efficiently used in the application process by the homeowner or lawn care professional.

Organic
Any substance containing the element carbon, is, by technical definition, organic. Both naturally occurring and man-made products may be organic. The common misconception that organic and natural have the same meaning may cause the non-technical consumer to believe that a man-made organic material is natural when it is not.

Natural-based
Generally used to describe a mixture of materials that includes some materials that may be properly described as natural. The portion that is natural is frequently undefined. The other portion may be man-made pesticides or fertilizers.

Organic-Based
Generally used to describe a mixture of materials that includes some organic materials. The portion of the product that is both organic and natural is frequently undefined. The other portion may be man-made pesticides or fertilizers.

It is important to understand the “natural” or “organic” products are not free from risk, and in reality can sometimes be more toxic than man-made products.

What is Integrated Pest Management, or IPM?

An IPM program is one designed to create a healthy lawn with sufficient plant strength and density to survive weed, insect and disease attacks with minimum pesticide use. An IPM program must consider your lawn’s specific needs and overall condition. An IPM program requires the support of proper cultural practices including:

  • Proper mowing practices
  • Regular watering at a rate that ensures retained moisture levels throughout the root zone.
  • Core aeration designed to promote root development through reduced soil compaction, improve nutrient and moisture absorption, and discourage thatch development.
  • Programmed seeding, sodding, plugging, or sprigging to enhance lawn density, and to enhance appearance by controlling incursions of undesirable grasses and weeds.
  • Fertilization to provide essential nutrients that may be efficient in your lawn.
  • The pH balancing treatments (lime or sulfur) to achieve proper soil acidity levels and improved nutrient absorption.
  • Regular inspection of lawn areas for early detection of pest presence.

Simply put, IPM is using the best mix of cultural techniques and discreet use of chemical products in a program of Integrated Pest Management. Your cooperation in mowing, watering, and regular inspections between our visits is important to the success of the IPM care of your property.

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