“Go Native” Campaign Urges California Gardeners to Use Water and Insecticides Wisely

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Apply Responsibly Education Effort Offers Native Plant Seed Packets to those Who Pass Online Water Quiz.

Apply Responsibly helps Californians become more environmentally-friendly gardeners.

Most California homeowners use the majority of their water for gardens, plants and lawns . . . they need to take steps to conserve water and prevent insectide runoff

With California facing drought conditions this year, the Apply Responsibly stewardship program today launched its “Go Native” campaign to urge gardeners to pay attention to water – both conserving it and taking steps to prevent pesticide runoff into urban waterways, according to program officials.

“Most California homeowners use the majority of their water caring for their gardens, plants and lawns,” said Fred Pearson, chairman of the Urban Pyrethroid Stewardship Group, the industry alliance that established Apply Responsibly as a way to promote water protection, especially through the smart use of insecticides.

“With the snowpack only about 40 percent of normal this year, we felt it was a perfect time to broaden our water message this year to include conservation,” said Pearson.

Californians who successfully take the “Go Native’ online water-conservation quiz at http://www.applyresponsibly.org will receive seed packets of native California plants, including poppies, royal lupine and tidy tips. For the next two months, Apply Responsibly will be reinforcing messages and information about water conservation and the prudent use of insecticides with online, radio and mass transit advertisements.

According to experts, here are a number of tips for water conservation that can make a big difference:

  •     Water early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler.
  •     Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  •     Choose a water-efficient irrigation system such as drip irrigation for your trees, shrubs, and flowers.
  •     Water deeply but less frequently to create healthier and stronger landscapes.
  •     Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool. Organic mulch also improves the soil and prevents weeds.
  •     Plant drought-resistant trees and plants.

The stewardship group, comprised of leading insecticide industry companies, was established in 2008 with the goal of better informing California consumers about the important link between responsible pesticide use and safeguarding the state’s water and the environment. In past years, the Apply Responsibly effort has reached millions of Californians through media, advertising, online quizzes and community outreach.

Apply Responsibly reinforces many existing guidelines and established best practices, including, recommendations that consumers:

  •     Use, store and dispose of unused insecticides according to the instructions on the product label.
  •     Never pour any leftover insecticides down the sink, toilet, sewer or storm drain.
  •     Don’t stockpile insecticides. Buy only enough for one season.
  •     Consider ready-to-use pesticides rather than products that need to be mixed if only a small area needs to be treated.
  •     Prevent runoff by not applying pesticides to concrete or other impervious surfaces; do not apply when it is raining.

In addition to raising awareness about insecticides in general, the program also seeks to educate homeowners and gardeners about pyrethroid insecticides, which are used to control a wide range of insects that can infest gardens and enter the home.

“Apply Responsibly” is a public awareness program funded by the Urban Pyrethroid Stewardship. Through http://www.applyresponsibly.org and educational materials, the industry alliance promotes the responsible use, storage and disposal of insecticides commonly used in the garden and outside home as a way to help protect California’s water and environment. The following companies are members of the Stewardship: AMVAC Chemical; Bayer CropScience; Cheminova, Inc.; DuPont Crop Protection; FMC Corporation; Syngenta Crop Protection; and Valent BioSciences Corporation

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Stevan Allen
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