Know the Label
The label is a legal contract between the government, the pesticide company, and the applicator. Be sure to completely familiarize yourself with the label. The following portions of the label are key for the safe and effective application of the material:
- Signal word. The signal word describes the toxicity of the material for quick identification. Signal words include: CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER, or DANGER-POISON going from least to most toxic.
- Statement of use classification. Pesticides may be either “General-Use” or “Restricted-Use” based on the potential to cause harm to people, animals, or the environment. Restricted-Use products can only be purchased by licensed pesticide applicators.
- Precautionary statements. These statements will describe how the pesticide may be harmful to humans or animals. Additional information on hazards can be found in the material safety data sheets (MSDS). The personal protective equipment or PPE required for applicators and other handlers is described. Also, any engineering controls required for tractor cabs or other application equipment are listed.
- Reentry statement. Restrictions may apply to the time that must elapse before a person can enter an area treated with a pesticide unless he is wearing PPE.
- Environmental hazards. The product’s potential to harm wildlife, fish, and pollinators are described here. There may also be information on spray drift management, resistance management, or other application requirements
- Directions for use. In order for a pesticide to be used in Christmas trees, it must be labeled for either Christmas trees or the specific species being grown such as fir. The pest that is being controlled does not necessarily have to be listed if the Christmas trees are on the label. Rates may be listed on a per acre or per 100 gallons basis. There may be additional application notes, so be sure to familiarize yourself with all pertinent information.