JARS v42n1 - Cide Effects

Cide Effects
Austin C. Kennell
Afton, Virginia

Insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and bactericides are high on my list of things that take a lot of the pleasure out of gardening for me. No, I'm not an environmentalist - nor an organic gardener. What I am is frustrated (and lazy)! I just don't have enough brains, patience, and equipment to use these 'cide things.

It's almost as if the manufacturers of these cidelines do their darndest to obfuscate me and, if that word means what I think it does, they've made me one really obfuscated fellow. Their application instructions must be written for them by the IRS as they sure tax my abilities and equanimity. A few examples:

Mix ¼ oz/100 gal. water to 400 sq. ft. or 1.5-2.5 ml (cc) per 2 gal to 80 sq. ft.
1 gal/40-85 gal water.
10.0 oz. of 1.47% gran.
2 qt. per 44 gals.
0.4-1.2 fl. oz. with 100 gals, water 400/800 sq. ft. (Ah, come on).
½ handful/med size.
10 teaspoons per 5 gal. water for area of 20 sq. ft.
8 pts. per 24 gals.
1 gal per 40-85 gals. (That's specific?)
0.398 lbs. in sprinkling can.
0.795 lb. in 2.5 gal. of water per 100 sq. ft.

But measuring is only one cide of the problem. How about:

Temperature must be over 40°.
Do not spray when foliage is wet or humidity is high.
Wear protective clothing.
Apply to point of runoff.
Avoid excessive drip.
Spray after leaves are ¾ grown. (Never have hit this just right).
Spray when shoots are 3-6" high and again when 10-18".
Apply to clear cultivated soil.
Thorough wetting and soaking of bark necessary but foliage need not be treated.
Treat when caterpillars are small. (One of my favorites).
Treat throughout seasons in overlapping generations. (Now there's one for you).
Stay out of drift and spray.
Do not mix pesticides which are not compatible.
Do not inhale.
Avoid contact with any body of water.
Do not get in eyes, on skin or clothing. (After I get all the protective gear on, I can't move).
Avoid contact with foliage, green stems (guess other colors O.K.), or fruit of crops, 'desirable plants and trees.
Do not mix, store, or apply in galvanized steel or unlined steel containers or spray tanks as it may form a highly combustible gas mixture and explode.
Buyers and users are responsible for all loss or damage from use or handling.

There's still another cide-light to all this. In an effort to use these things, I have accumulated the following:

Calendar, tape measure (gotta make sure to measure those caterpillars), stopwatch, conversion tables, calculator, hygrometer, hydrometer, agitator, anemometer, thermometer, lots of pails, hand sprayer, duster, tank sprayer, (both hand and powered), backpack sprayer, various measuring spoons, cups, glasses, gloves, goggles, respirator, protective coveralls, gray hair, and lots of insurance.

Acide from using the stuff, it's a real pain in the backcide to try to read the small print on the labels, to try to figure out what, when, and how. Just when I figure out the dos, they throw in the don'ts so then I have to try to fathom whether I do the dos or don't do the dos except when and how the don't say to do the dos. By this time, I'm contemplating suicide or homicide!