Read the Label! A Hard Lesson Learned – Turfgrass Science at Purdue University

Read the Label! A Hard Lesson Learned

I was recently forwarded a video from one of our Extension educators in Vanderburgh County, Larry Caplan, that I thought I would share with you. The video chronicles the “misadventures” of a homeowner who simply wanted to control the weeds in his lawn. It should be a reminder to all of us to read the full label before applying a pesticide.

Always follow label directions when using herbicides, and obey all federal, state, and local pesticide laws and regulations. Labels provide specific safety suggestions and requirements for handling products. Labels also provide valuable insight on how to use the products safely (for you, the turf, and the environment) for maximum effectiveness.

The following are general guidelines to reduce the risks from herbicides.

  1. Apply a product only to the turfgrass species listed on the label.
  2. Clean spray tanks thoroughly when changing from one herbicide to another. Many herbicides contain instructions on how to properly clean and rinse the sprayer following an application.
  3. Calibrate sprayers correctly and often.
  4. Use the recommended herbicide application rates provided on the label. The label may also specify a specific rate for specific weed species. Rates listed on the manufacturer label are based on research at multiple locations across multiple years. Applying too much herbicide is costly and could result in turf damage or lack of control due to spray runoff. Applying too little herbicide can result in poor weed control and unsatisfied customers.
  5. Apply herbicides as specified on the label (timing, site, interval between applications, interval before and after seeding, and so on).
  6. Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) specified on the label.
  7. Use caution when spraying around ornamental plants and sensitive crops to avoid injury. Follow wind restrictions on the label.
  8. Apply herbicides when temperatures are in the range provided on the labels.
  9. Do not apply herbicides when children or students are in the application area. This is known as the “School Rule.” More information about the School Rule is available on the OISC website,
  10. Check the label for instructions and options on how to remove pesticide residues from containers prior to their disposal.
  11. Store pesticides in their original containers and keep unused pesticides in a safe, secure location. Keep storage areas on trucks or within buildings locked, and keep pesticide containers away from children.

Aaron Patton, Turfgrass Extension Specialist


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Disclaimer: Reference to products is not intended to be an endorsement to the exclusion of others which may have similar uses. Any person using products listed in these articles assumes full responsibility for their use in accordance with current directions of the manufacturer.
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