Safe Chemicals

Segment: Safe Chemicals
Episode: Spring 2019, Ep13
Presenter: Trevor Cochrane
TX Date: 7th December 2019

All chemicals used in the garden (whether insecticides, pesticides etc.) and designed to kills pests (which are living organisms) need to be handled with care and you should always make sure you are protected from coming in contact with them. Here we are sharing some tips about how to.

  • Covering up is vitally important: overalls that can be washed or a spray suit are ideal, and there are many disposable types available.
  • Rubber boots or waterproof work boots are a must. Remember to wash them down after you’ve finished spraying. Rubber gloves are essential too: don’t spray unless you have waterproof gloves.
  • Spray masks protect you from inhaling any of the ingredients. Dust masks will suffice for both spray-on and premixed products, but for the more toxic chemicals that are scheduled as poisons you need to get a professional spray mask with canisters to be changed every 6 to 12 months depending upon how often you use them.
  • When it comes to mixing, set your sprayer down on a level surface, and only apply the recommended amount in concentrate first. Then fill with water and make sure you wash down any spills in order to safely dilute them.
  • Never spray on a windy day so you won’t affect your neighbours’ garden or other plants you don't want treated. Apply directly to the plants you want to control the pest with and never beyond that. Applying insecticides generally can lead up to a tolerance in the pests and this means you will need to apply more chemicals more often or when it no longer works perhaps you will have to use something more toxic.
  • Glyphosate is one of the most heavily scrutinised chemicals around, used by millions of people daily. Without it, weeds like Arum lily and blackberry would have invaded our bushlands decimating our native plants and in some cases animals too. We have to use it as it's the safest option of the chemicals currently able to treat these types of weeds and noxious pests, but remember: if you follow the instructions, apply only the areas you need to treat and do it properly covered up, you’ve reduced your risk hazard dramatically.
  • All of the items shown here are available in good garden centres. Make sure you make an investment in your health upfront before you try to help your plants.