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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How do I avoid damaging plants with insecticide sprays?

Applying the wrong pesticide, using too high a concentration, or applying a pesticide when temperatures are too high can all lead to plant injury. Damage will vary depending upon the spray material being used and the plant being sprayed. Common symptoms of damage, however, are dead spots on the leaves or brown margins where the spray accumulated, stunted or retarded plant growth and dropping of leaves. If any of these symptoms are noticed within a few days after applying a pesticide then the pesticide may have been the cause. To reduce the chance of injuring plants, follow these guidelines:

1. Read the label carefully for plants which are sensitive to the spray. Plants which may be damaged by the product are usually listed on the label.

2. Follow concentration rates carefully and do not exceed recommended dosages. Adding an extra tablespoon may be just enough to cause damage. Also follow reapplication schedules. Some pesticides applied too frequently will cause damage.

3. Apply pesticides when it is cool. Many pesticides can damage plant foliage if applied when air temperature is too high or if they are applied in mid-day. Follow label recommendations.

In short, the best way to avoid pesticide damage to plants is to read and follow all label directions.