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    Lawn Care: Pest Control continued...

    Here are a few suggestions to try before you reach for the pesticide:

    • Give nature a little time to work. Damaged parts of your lawn may bounce back over time. And most lawn and garden pests have natural enemies that will help control pests. For example, ladybugs and praying mantises eat other bugs while not damaging your lawn or garden.

    • Pull out weeds using a long-handled weed puller. It's usually easier than by hand. Vinegar can also be used to kill weeds.

    • Mulch garden beds to prevent weeds.

    • Remove diseased plants so the problem doesn't spread.

    If you do decide to use a pesticide, follow these guidelines to help keep your family safe:

    • Make sure you know what kind of pest you're dealing with so you can choose the right type of pesticide. Your local extension agent or other local lawn expert can help you identify the problem. There are also organic lawn and pest care companies.

    • Don't treat the whole lawn if it’s unnecessary. Use pesticides just where you have the problem.

    • Read the label on the pesticide carefully and follow the instructions.

    • Wear gloves, and long pants and sleeves while using the pesticide to protect your skin. Wash clothing separately before wearing them again.

    • Keep children and pets away from the area for the time recommended on the label.

    • If you hire a lawn care service, find one that uses an IPM approach to lawn care or uses organic or chemical-free processes.

    Setting Realistic Goals for Your Lawn

    Having a safer lawn may mean that you learn to live with a weed or two. But even healthy lawns have a few weeds and pests. Knowing that your kids are safe when playing hide-and-seek or leapfrog should make any weeds that do pop up a little easier to tolerate.

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