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Safe Pest Management

I noticed when you recommend fungicides you never tell readers of the health risks.  How about recommending some of the organic alternatives?

I use a Plant Health Care approach when answering gardeners' questions.  I start by looking at ways to avoid the problem.  Selecting disease resistant plants, planting the right plant for the location, and providing it with proper care to grow healthier more pest resistant plants. 

If pest problems occur, I then look at all reasonable research-based  alternatives.  Techniques such as sanitation (removing infected leaves), traps and more environmentally friendly products such as soaps, Bt, and Neem are recommended first. Fortunately there are more and more eco-friendly products being introduced on the market. 

Traditional pesticides are the last choice.  All chemicals, whether organic or inorganic, should be treated with respect. Anything designed to kill one thing may be harmful to other living organisms if used improperly.  This is why you always see "Be sure to read and follow label directions carefully before using this or any product" in my column.

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