Pesticides, always read the label



As the days get warmer and the grass grows, so do the pests we manage each summer, namely weeds and insects.

Many of us rely on pesticides to control these nuisances, and now is a good time to remind everyone to always read the label of products they are purchasing or applying to help minimize the risks associated with these products. One example that may be a source of confusion, is a product like “Roundup for Lawns” (R4L). For years, the name roundup has been synonymous with the active ingredient glyphosate, a nonselective herbicide that kills nearly any plant it touches. However, R4L does not contain a drop of glyphosate and is not a total kill product. Its active ingredients include MCPA, quinclorac, dicamba, and sulfentrazone, products that can be sprayed on a lawn to kill weeds without killing turf grass.

This is all well and good but, it does leave room for confusion for those accustomed to traditional “roundup” products, which is why it is important to always double-check what you are applying. A scenario could arise where someone sprays R4L on grass growing up through cracks in their driveway and is disappointed that the weeds were not killed. Worse yet, one may reach for R4L to make an application to their lawn and accidentally grab regular Roundup, killing an entire lawn in the process! The bottom line is, always double-check the product you are applying and be sure to follow label directions, as this is the only way to ensure a successful application.

Black cutworm scouting is advised

Black cutworm moth catches in pheromone traps around the state are racking up impressive numbers so far this year and scouting will be advised in the coming weeks. The timing of these moth captures coupled with their eventual larval development may prove to be bad timing with so much of this year’s corn crop yet to be planted. Purdue entomologists advise that this may be especially true in areas that have abundant weeds such as chickweed and have yet to be sprayed due to delayed weed control.

Persistent cooler temperatures have delayed black cutworm larval development so far, so corn that is already planted should outgrow larval development and not be vulnerable. It is the fields that have yet to be planted or treated with herbicides that will be the most susceptible as the emergence of that corn may coincide with hungry young caterpillars in need of a food source following the death of the weeds they had been consuming. To keep track of this situation and other insect and weed issues as they emerge, I would recommend subscribing to Purdue’s weekly Pest & Crop newsletter available here

Andrew Westfall is the White County Ag and Natural Resources Extension Coordinator. He can be reached at

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