What’s in a Name?

County Agent’s Corner

If you are going to use pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides in or around your home, read the label first.

If you are going to use pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides in or around your home, read the label first.

What’s in a name? The standard county agent reply is, “Well, that depends”. If you had asked me a year ago what Roundup was, I would have told you that it was a non-selective herbicide that kills just about anything that is green. Roundup was primarily a product name that had glyphosate as the active ingredient. It was sold in concentrated form (41%) and as a ready-to-use material at a reduced concentration. At some point, the folks at Monsanto decided to make Roundup a brand name representing several different products. For example, you may purchase Roundup Weed & Grass Killer, Roundup Weed Preventer, Roundup For Lawns, Ready to Use – Kills Weeds, Not The Lawn (1), Ready to Use – Kills Weeds, Not the Lawn (4) and there is also a #6 product with the same title, but designed for a different use. There is also a Roundup For Lawns – Bug Destroyer. The company has gone from one product with a name that everybody knows to using the same name for several different products. I am not endorsing any product, just explaining the new selection of items.

Amdro has also expanded its product line under their brand name. If you had asked me a year ago what Amdro was, I would have said it is fire ant bait containing the active ingredient hydramethlnon. Now they sell Amdro Quick Kill Home Perimeter Insect Killer, Amdro Ant Block Home Perimeter Ant Bait, Amdro Kills Ants & Spiders, and a few more under the Amdro name.

The bottom line is anyone using pesticides needs to learn to read the label before they purchase and use any product, including herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. I always like to go to the garden section of box stores and farm supply stores just to see what products are being offered, and as you can see, it can be confusing. I not only strongly recommend you begin by reading the label of any and all products you purchase, but become familiar with the active ingredient of these products as well. Many products have the same active ingredient but are sold under different brand names by different companies. Once these products are applied they can’t be recalled. Occasionally a situation can be mediated by flushing the pot, yard, or garden with water, but that is the exception rather than the rule.

Here is a good example of pesticide misuse. I received a call one day from a lady that had cooked a mess of green beans and fed them to her family. Somehow a discussion of what insecticide had been applied on the beans must have come up, probably during supper. She decided to read the label and found out that Orthene, which is a very good insecticide, is a systemic insecticide that will be taken up by the plant. It has or had (I haven’t read the label recently) a harvest restriction of 19 days on beans. They had already eaten the beans and she was worried that maybe she had poisoned her family. My response was that, since they had only eaten a few of the beans, exposure to the insecticide was minimal. Continued harvest and consumption of the beans was discouraged until the pre-harvest interval was met, even though it meant losing part of the crop. Read the label. Nobody needs this scenario on their plate.

If you shop at the local farmers market and want to know what produce is available, follow the Blount County Farmers Market on Facebook. Just like their page and you can see what is in season. Last week there was squash, cucumbers, peaches, blackberries, new potatoes, and greenhouse tomatoes.

Every year the Blount County Master Gardeners offer a fall mini-conference at Palisades Park. This fall it will be held on Oct. 4. “Magic in the Garden” will feature speakers including Dr. Mike Rushing (Magic for the Mature Gardener), Dr. Chip East (Propagation – New Plant Magic), Herb Lewis (Magical Yards for Birds), and Verna Gates (Fairy Gardens). Seating is limited to the first 75 to register. Registration forms may be picked up at the Extension office or contact Sherilyn Osborne at 205–681–9896 or sherilyn osborne@bellsouth.net. Cost is $20.

Dan Porch is County Extension Coordinator with the Blount County Extension Office. Dan lives in and loves Blount County and is available to answer your questions about conservation, agriculture, natural resources, and gardening. He can be reached at (205) 274-2129 or porchdw@aces.edu.