Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

How can I dispose of old garden pesticides?

Many people have come to think pesticides are a necessary part of gardening, when in fact, people have been cultivating healthy crops for thousands of years without the use of chemicals. Here are some natural ways to repel unwanted insects without chemicals.

Vary the diversity of your garden. Choose plants that are pest-resistant. Or add plants that attract birds and insects that prey on the pest species.

Use mulches and groundcovers to prevent weeds. Learn proper pruning, watering and fertilizing techniques to make plants as healthy as possible.

Set realistic standards for the presence of insects or weeds. Is some cosmetic damage acceptable? Use fabric row covers to protect vegetable crops from insects and netting to protect berries and fruit from birds.

Use biological controls. There are commercially made pathogens of some insect pests available through garden stores and catalogs. If you must turn to chemicals, choose the least toxic or environmentally damaging product available. This may be insecticidal soap or a plant-derived product such as pyrethrum. Aside from pesticides, there are pheromones and other attractants to lure and/or confuse pests, or contraceptives to reduce breeding of future generations.

If you have unwanted chemical pesticides on hand, the best way to dispose of them is to use them up. If you no longer have a use for them, and they have not yet reached their expiration date, donate them to a local exterminator, nursery, landscaper, park department, garden club or farmer. If you can't find someone who can use them, save them for the next available household hazardous waste collection day in your area.