Know your chemicals!
There have been huge changes in the range of chemicals available to gardeners but what’s safe to use and what’s not? GN cuts through the confusion
In just over 30 years many garden chemicals have gone from being saviour to scourge. Several previously highly regarded products have been discontinued by law on health or environmental grounds, or for purely commercial reasons, while the future of others is in question.
Fuelled by often hotly contested scientific research, they’ve become the focus of heated political debate in government and fervent lobbying by environmental groups. In response, manufacturers have started introducing new products to the market with ‘organic’ or ‘environmentally benign’ credentials. It’s no surprise gardeners are confused and uncertain about certain products and what the future might hold, particularly after Britain leaves the European Union.
Remember that all garden chemicals currently on sale have been passed as being legally fit for purpose by EU agreements, overseen in the UK by the Chemical Regulation Directorate. Use of any type of herbicide is a matter of personal preference and belief, but all products should be used with care and according to manufacturers’ instructions. Only make or use as much as is required for the job, specifically targeting rather than broadcasting their use wherever possible.
Ensure any residues and redundant products are disposed of carefully and stop using products that are withdrawn for legal reasons, after any designated ‘use up’ period has expired.
Try to maintain an integrated approach to weed control and maintaining plant health through good husbandry, though it’s not usually possible to combine biological control systems with chemical means of control in the same spot.
Exercise sensible weedkiller control, weeding manually wherever possible