Friday, May 30, 2008

To Spray or Not

Iris 'Honey Glazed'

The use or avoidance of pesticides is integral to a gardener's lifestyle. I try to avoid them, but I am not an absolutist. For example, I don't know how I would manage my ten acres without glyphosate (i.e. generic brand Round-up) and Ortho's cocktail of selective broadleaf herbicides. (The latter is mostly used on poison ivy.) I use one fungicide and only once a year on my two peach trees to avoid peach leaf curl. (I don't spray my apples at all.) I feel pretty good about being mostly pesticide free. The bearded iris pictured above is an example of a decision not to use pesticides. I am visited by iris borers and actually gave up recently on a clump of tall bearded iris because of chronic infestation from borers. But so far this year borer problems are not evident as typified by the the Iris 'Honey Glazed' pictured above. I think the use of pesticides is a cost/benefit question. Unfortunately, people typically under estimate the cost of pesticides such as their personal and family's exposure, general pollution of the environment, and adverse impact on biological equilibriums. For me the cost is higher than the benefit of spaying my iris for borers.

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