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Disease Management Resources

April 21, 2004

Everywhere, there are signs that spring has arrived. As you go about your springtime activities, keep in mind that many plant pathogens are “anxious” to break out of winter dormancy.

University of Illinois Extension offers many resources to help you prevent, identify, and manage pest problems. Through our newsletters, diagnostic services, and a host of fact sheets, we stress the importance of understanding disease biology; and we promote an integrated pest management approach, which may include nonchemical as well as chemical options.

Sometimes pesticide applications are necessary to manage certain pests. When faced with shelves of pesticides, finding a legal and appropriate pesticide for the plant and pest can be daunting. Pesticide labels are frequently reviewed and changed for many reasons, including host additions or deletions, changes in rate or application method, and environmental and human-safety issues. Beyond the legal issues, we must also deal with new product names due to marketing tactics and company mergers. Most would agree that it is difficult to keep up with these changes.

When you’ve determined that you want to use a pesticide, how can you save some time? For the turfgrass and ornamental enthusiasts and professionals, U of I Extension offers two handbooks with pesticide recommendations: Home, Yard and Garden Pest Guide and the Commercial Landscape and Turfgrass Pest Management Handbook. These handbooks are revised every 2 or 3 years. This year, the Home, Yard and Garden Pest Guide was revised and will be available in late April.

In chapter 4 of the 2004 Home, Yard and Garden Pest Guide, you’ll find pesticide recommendations, timing comments, and references to detailed disease fact sheets for turfgrass, woody ornamentals, and flowers and other nonwoody ornamentals. Information is organized by host plant and then by disease. Following is a list of significant changes for 2004.

First, the labeled pesticides are now arranged by active ingredient, with specific product names in parentheses. This was done to increase the statewide utility and “shelf life” of the publication. As previously mentioned, product names change often, yet the number and kinds of active ingredients on the market do not. If you can’t find the recommended product, look for the recommended active ingredient on other product labels. Just be sure the new product is labeled for the way you intend to use it (that is, site and plant). The 2004 version lists 44 fungicide products (up from 31 in 2001). Of these, 13 contain a systemic active ingredient (10 in 2001). However, the number of different active ingredients remained fairly stable. There was no change in the number of systemic active ingredients; myclobutanil, propiconazole, triforine, and thiophanate-methyl remain on the market.

Second, a new table lists products labeled for most ornamentals. Besides listing a few specific plants, these product labels indicate the product may be used on a wide range of similar ornamentals. This table is especially useful if you are looking for a fungicide to use on plants that are relatively uncommon nationwide or that have few disease problems. As always, read the label instructions and precautions carefully.

Finally, even though it’s not new to this version, please remember that there is a table at the end of the chapter providing more information about each pesticide and whether it is systemic or contact.

A final reminder: Keep in mind that a pesticide label is a legal document. Regardless of what you read online, in a recommendation guide/handbook, or elsewhere, the user is responsible for reading and following the label that accompanies the product at the time of purchase.

Author: Bruce Paulsrud


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