How to Apply Herbicides Safely

Herbicides are an effective way to control weeds, but these poisonous pesticides for plants can also be extremely dangerous to humans, animals and the environment. For these reasons, it is extremely important to know how to apply herbicides safely. Proper weed killer application is not only safer, but more effective.


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    Read the label carefully before you apply herbicides. For any pesticide use, the label will tell you:
    • Specific purpose of the herbicide.
    • Level of toxicity, with "caution" being the least toxic and "danger" the most toxic.
    • Pesticide safety information.
    • Protective clothing and equipment needed for weed killer application.
    • Instructions for pesticide use, storage and disposal.
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    Wear protective clothing and equipment mentioned on the label, such as goggles, gloves, etc.
    • Do not wash protective clothing used to apply herbicides with other laundry.
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    Make certain you have the correct equipment for weed killer application. This may include dusters, sprayers or granular applicators.
    • Check for leaking connections or nozzles.
    • You can also choose ready-to-use herbicides, such as sprays or aerosols to apply herbicides.
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    Mix herbicide for pesticide use according to the label, using the exact proportions.
    • Mix only the amount that is needed. You should not store mixed herbicides.
    • Calibrate equipment before weed killer application.
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    Choose the best day and time of day for pesticide safety in weed killer application.
    • Much of the danger of pesticide use comes from breezy days that cause particle drift.
    • Never apply herbicides when it's windy and stop if the wind picks up.
    • Mornings and evenings are usually better times of day for weed killer application.
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    Apply herbicides in a continuous manner with little overlap.
    • Spray so you don't have to walk or step in application areas.
    • Follow specific label directions for application.
    • Use all of mixed herbicide.
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    Clean up after weed killer application.
    • Rinse spray equipment and flush hoses and nozzles.
    • Wash yourself, clothing and protective equipment. Remove clothing before washing face, hands and body.
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    Store herbicides in original containers in a locked cabinet away from temperature extremes and away from children and pets.
    • Avoid having to dispose of any pesticide by buying only what you need.
    • If you must dispose of herbicides, contact a waste collection program.
    • Rinse empty herbicide containers before wrapping in newspapers and sending to a sanitary landfill.
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    Know what first aid procedures are required by reading the "Statement of Practical Treatment" on the pesticide label ahead of time. General procedures include:
    • Rinsing skin immediately if herbicide gets on it.
    • Moving to fresh air if an herbicide has been inhaled.
    • Have the container with you if you must seek medical help or contact a poison control center.


  • Never pour pesticides down the drain or allow residue to get into water supplies for pesticide safety.
  • Homeowners are liable for misuse of herbicides on their property.
  • No eating, drinking or smoking when you apply herbicides or before you clean up.
  • Use separate equipment for herbicides and insecticides. Insecticide residues can kill plants.

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Categories: Garden Pests and Weeds