Is it safe to treat around waterways? I live on a canal and also have a small pond on one side of my home. My land is relatively flat but I don’t want to contaminate anything. What do you suggest? I can’t find anything specific dealing with this but I know I shouldn’t spray into the water.
Pesticides can be safely used around water like ponds, rivers and lakes. There are some guidelines to follow when making treatments in these areas which I will list below. And you are dead on in that most labels don’t have enough information about treating these sensitive areas. If the user wasn’t conscious of the water they could easily do a misapplication. To avoid this on your land, follow these guidelines:
1) Be sure to leave a buffer zone of untreated area (land) between the water and your main yard. There is no exact amount to leave but we feel 10 feet is ample space. The 10 foot rule is commonly used when treating around homes and there is an active well line or housing topside. Staying at least 10 feet clear of the well is an acceptable distance and we feel this applies to water ways as well. With this amount of untreated area you should have enough of a run off zone for land inclinations of 20 degrees or less. For really steep land zones, this buffer zone should be more.
2) Make your treatments when there is no rain in the forecast for at least 1-2 hours. Ideally you shouldn’t treat if rain is expected that day. This will give the product plenty of time to dry and lock in which further reduces the chance of translocation.
3) Don’t spray during high winds. At these times there is a chance of wind drift which could cause product to end up in the wrong place.
Lastly, remember the end product you are spraying will be very mild and weak. Pesticides these days are mixed down dramatically. In other words, most of the products we have are only .5% or less active at the nozzle once mixed which means you’re essentially spraying 99.5% water. Immediately following the treatment this very little amount of active will be negatively affected by the sun and other weather conditions making it weaker still. Combine this with the impact of “dirt filtering” during runoff and the end result is there is little chance of some making it to the water if you follow these guidelines.