The "Pesticide Contamination Around the Home and Garden" website was built in response to the MSU Schutter Diagnostic Laboratory receiving over 112 garden samples which showed symptoms consistent with pesticide exposure from a class of chemicals known as "growth regulator herbicides" in 2009 and 2010.
The website links tools from MSU, the University of Arizona, University of Minnesota and Washington State University to help applicators and educators properly diagnose pesticide drift or soil contamination. The tools include photographs, online guides and 2009 presentations from WSU.
By asking themselves a few questions available on the website, homeowners or educators might reach solutions without additional support. They could also decide to contact the Montana Department of Agriculture for enforcement action, county Extension agents for further diagnosis or the MSU Pesticide Education Program for questions about pesticide product labels and action modes.
Homeowners or applicators can find directions, too, for conducting their own soil bioassays, links to determine their pesticides' environmental characteristics, and additional reference materials including the MSU MontGuide titled "Minimizing Pesticide Contaminated Soil around the Home and Garden," and the new DOW Agro "Aminopyralid Stewardship' brochure.
MSU Pesticide Education Specialist Cecil Tharp said applicators should be especially cautious if they are using pyridine carboxylic acid herbicides, such as aminocyclopyrachlor, clopyralid, picloram, fluroxypyr, triclopyr and aminopyralid. These active ingredients can persist for years in grass clippings, compost or manure. Vendors and homeowners should confirm previous pesticide applications on incoming manure, compost and/or grass clippings prior to use or further distribution. Applicators should give homeowners or other client's written or verbal warnings as to the restrictions related to grass clippings or manure collected from treated locations.
For more information, homeowners and applicators can contact their county Extension agent or go to http://www.pesticides.montana.edu and select the "Non-Target Plant Toxicity around the Home and Garden" link. They can also contact the MSU Pesticide Education Program at (406) 994-5067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or email@example.com