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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Herbicide success tips

Minimize damage to turf or other desirable plants by following these tips:

  • Follow all label directions carefully.
  • Apply herbicides only at the time of year and the rates recommended.
  • Be sure the herbicide is effective against the weed you are trying to control and that it is recommended for your type of lawn. Improper use could injure or kill desirable turf or other plants in the landscape.
  • Many broadleaf weed herbicides are prone to drift or can be injurious to shallow tree roots growing in the lawn, so exercise proper caution.
  • Do not apply herbicides under hot, dry, or windy conditions as they could injure turfgrass or nearby ornamentals.
  • If you are applying preemergent herbicides, remember that you cannot reseed desirable turfgrass species for several months after application.
  • If you are applying preemergent herbicides, apply them after aerating. Otherwise, the herbicides will be removed from the soil surface.
  • Rotate preemergent herbicides. Using the same product repeatedly may only selectively control some weeds. As a result, weeds that are not controlled by the product may actually increase.
Active Ingredient
Glyphosate, isopropylamine salt.....................2%
Inert Ingredients................................................98%



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additional precautionary statements.


Brand names and active ingredients

Lawn and garden companies market their own brand names of herbicides. These trade names are so numerous and change so often that they cannot all be listed. Shop for herbicides by looking for the common name or active ingredient (a.i.) that appears on the label in small print under the title "Ingredients." Unlike brand names, common names for active ingredients do not change from company to company. The active ingredient is the material in the herbicide formulation that actually destroys the target pest or performs the desired function. Different products will vary in the percentage of active ingredient they contain. Some products are formulated as ready-to-use to allow for the convenience of no mixing; others are formulated as granules, and many others as higher-concentration liquid sprays that require mixing.

Inert ingredients

Inert ingredients are all materials in the pesticide formulation other than the active ingredient. These ingredients do not work to control the pest, but help dissolve the active ingredient or improve or enhance pesticidal activity. Some inert ingredients may be toxic or hazardous to humans.

Signal words

The signal words "CAUTION," "WARNING," and "DANGER" (in order of increasing toxicity) indicate the relative acute toxicity, or short-term effects, of the active ingredients to humans. They do not refer to long-term effects to humans nor do they indicate the effect on aquatic invertebrates.

For more information about pesticide labels see the U.S. EPA web site.

For more information, see the Pesticides: Safe and Effective Use in the Home and Landscape Pest Note.

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Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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