Help us achieve our goals:
make a donation »
Join the RHS today and
support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
Join the RHS today and support our charity
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Pest, disease and weed control can be made easier with the targeted use of chemicals. Before using or even buying garden chemicals, it is important to read the label; this contains vital information on how to use the product safely and effectively.
When used as directed, chemicals are safe to use in the gardenAlways read the label before purchaseIt is illegal NOT to follow the instructions on the label
Chemical products are used to control pests, diseases and weeds or to modify plant growth, e.g. rooting powders. When carefully used as directed by the manufacturer they are safe and effective.
Reading the label before you make a purchase means:
Gardeners should be aware that manufacturers sometimes use similar brand names and packaging for different types of pesticide so that it is easy to inadvertently use the wrong product. If a pesticide that is not approved for edible crops is used on herbs, vegetables or fruit it may be necessary to discard treated produce. Herbicides mistaken for insecticides and fungicides and inadvertently applied to garden plants can result in extensive and costly losses.
Much research is carried out by manufacturers to ensure chemicals are safe for users, consumers and the environment. Following label instructions means that gardeners can use products accurately without harm to themselves, others or their surroundings. Chemicals for organic use must also carry usage instructions.
It is illegal not to follow the instructions on the label. Although your Local Authority Environmental Health Officer is unlikely to raid potting sheds, it’s important that gardeners use chemicals lawfully.
These usually provide information on:
This section of the label normally includes:
The label should also provide the following information:
The manufacturers’ contact details, including a helpline telephone number, must also be included on labels. The MAPP or HSE number will assist the helpline staff in the event of queries. Helpline staff have access to all the data from research and can advise on their products.
Changes in pesticide legislation affects the availability of products, both in terms of being able to buy a certain product, and being able to use it in the garden.
For further information see:
Crop Protection AssociationHealth and Safety Executive: Garden Pesticides SearchWithdrawn chemicals (please note, this list does not include products that have simply been discontinued)
Chemicals: storing and disposingChemicals: using a sprayerChemicals: using safely and effectivelyChemicals: using them in gardensCrop Protection AssociationHealth and Safety Executive; home garden chemicalsWeeds: non-chemical control
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9