Most pesticides can be hazardous – even organic ones. Metro and Oregon State University Extension Service provide free expert advice, videos, guides and more.
Always identify the source of your problem as it may not be what you think. Decide what you want to do about it after considering the risks and benefits of the options available.
If you think you have pests in your garden, determine whether they are actually damaging your plants. Keep in mind that a little damage likely won't hurt. Most plants can easily survive losing 25 percent of their leaf surface, and many plants can actually "outgrow" pests or diseases that afflict them especially if the soil is healthy.
Grow your garden healthy and safe
- Try to accept low levels of damage.
- Encourage natural predators and beneficial insects: Build birdhouses, set up birdbaths, plant millet and other seed crops to attract swallows and other allies.
- Encourage predatory and parasitic wasps by planting nectar and pollen plants such as sunflowers, cosmos, echinacea and flowering herbs.
- Use tools not toxics. Pull weeds and squish pest insects instead of spraying.
- If you're considering using a pesticide, choose the lowest-hazard option that will get the job done by asking an OSU Master Gardener or searching the grow smart, grow safe database.
- After replacing your toxic garden products with safer methods and alternatives, make sure to properly dispose of your pesticides at a hazardous waste facility or a collection event.