How to Use Pesticides in Their Various Forms

Herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides come in a variety of different forms. Sometimes it can be confusing which type is best to use. Listed below are the major ways garden chemicals come packaged and how/when to use each type.

Ready to Use Spray Bottles

How It Works:

These chemicals are premixed with water in the factory and are ready for use immediately. No work necessary–just open the tab and begin using!

Typical Sizes

  • 24 oz, 32 oz, 128 oz

Pros:

  • No mixing or measuring required
  • Great for spot applications or quick treatments
  • Allows for greater accuracy than other methods

Cons:

  • Not the best bang for the buck since it’s premixed with water
  • Coverage range of one bottle can be small
  • Requires physical action of squirting bottle (unless battery powered or Pump and Go)

General Conditions for Application on Plants:

In general, these chemicals should be applied when plant leaves or lawn is dry, temperature is mild and breeze is minimal.

Ready to Use Hose End Sprayers

How It Works:
Chemicals in this form are ready to use after purchase with no mixing required. However, instead of physically squirting the liquid out of the bottle, you’ll hook the end of your garden hose onto the input nozzle of the bottle. When you turn the hose on and flip the tab, the chemical will siphon into the water at the correct rate and you’ll be applying the chemical via the hose water.


Typical Sizes

  • 24 oz, 32 oz

Pros:

  • Allows for greater (and faster) coverage of an area
  • Perfect for lawns and larger problem areas
  • Some hose end sprayers allow for long reach up to 15-18’ 

Cons:

  • Requires use and reach of garden hose to target area

General Conditions for Application on Plants:

In general, these chemicals should be applied when plant leaves or lawn is dry, temperature is mild and breeze is minimal.

Concentrates

How It Works:
Concentrates are pure chemical–unlike the ready to use bottles, they require measuring and mixing into a spray tank before use. The label will indicate how much chemical to measure out and add to a gallon of water. This will depend on the product and the targeted pest.


Typical Sizes

  • 8 oz, 16 oz, 32 oz, 64 oz, 128 oz


Pros:

  • Best bang for your buck: Since concentrate is not premixed with water, you’re paying for the actual chemical
  • Allows you to have chemical for multiple applications or large areas
  • Bottles can be stored and saved for later use

Cons:

  • Generally more expensive for upfront cost
  • Requires spray tank for use
  • Requires proper measuring and mixing 

General Conditions for Application on Plants:

In general, these chemicals should be applied when plant leaves or lawn is dry, temperature is mild and breeze is minimal.

Dusts

How It Works:

A dust is a form of pesticide that is in the form of a powder. It is not as popular as liquid or granule forms but it is still available in some chemicals, especially fungicides.


Typical Sizes

  • 1 Pound, 3 Pound Bottles or Bags


Pros:

  • Good for spot treatment applications
  • Some products only available in dust
  • Good stickage when leaves are moist or slightly wet

Cons:

  • Difficult to apply (and should be avoided) when conditions are windy
  • Requires plant leaves to be slightly moist for better stickage
  • In general, better stickage with liquid applications
  • May require applicator device depending on chemical (some are RTU)

General Conditions for Application on Plants:

In general, these chemicals should be applied when plant leaves are slightly moist, temperature is mild and breeze is minimal.

Granules

How It Works
Granules are small and pellet-like. They are typically applied using a shaker or a lawn & garden spreader. Although insecticides and fungicides can be in granule form (especially for lawns), herbicides are the most common pesticide found in this form.

Typical Sizes

  • Small Garden Sizes (600-1,000 SF)
  • Lawn Sizes (5,000-15,000 SF)


Pros:

  • A single bag has a large coverage potential (depending on product)
  • Shaker bottles are easy to apply by hand
  • For larger bags, spreader makes application & distribution easy
  • Usually a quicker application than liquid pesticides

Cons:

  • Requires purchase of spreader for accurate application & distribution
  • Bags can be heavy to carry around
  • Some herbicides require lawn weeds to be moist during application

General Conditions for Application on Plants:

Moisture conditions of lawn or garden will vary greatly depending on the chemical being applied, especially herbicides. In general, application should be made when temperature is mild and breeze is minimal.

Other Helpful Pesticide Links


Helpful Links Regarding Pesticides:

How to Use Pesticides Safely & Effectively
Our Pesticide Disclaimer for Controversial Products & Pollinators

Recommended by Matt

Hello and welcome! I'm Matt and I started Mid Atlantic Gardening to help gardeners in the Mid Atlantic (and beyond!) with their lawn and garden problems and issues.

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