Grit Blogs > Tough Grit Hints From Hank Will

Read the Label on Pesticides, Household Chemicals and More

By Hank Will, Editor-in-Chief


Tags: Tough Grit, Hank's Hints, pesticide labels, pesticides, Hank Will,

Editor in Chief Hank Will, in his International.  When it comes to applying chemicals of any kind around your place, it’s not only important to spend some time reading the label, it’s also important to understand what it means.

The label is the law and if you handle, store or apply the chemicals in ways that are not designated on the label, then you are technically an outlaw. Plenty of folks downplay the label, in part because it can be complicated and in part because our society has grown used to the “better-living- through-chemistry” concept.

Read the Label and Understand the Information 
As a former certified pesticide applicator in more than one state, I really want to encourage you to take every precaution with household chemicals that you can. Whether you are spraying the yard for weeds or applying synthetic fertilizers to your back 40 or spraying for bugs under the kitchen sink, the information contained in those products’ labels is there to help keep you, your family, your pets and the environment safe from harm.

The information contained in the label also holds the key to targeting the specific pests you are trying to knock back and not the plants and insects that you wish to promote.

Read and understand the label to know whether the herbicide you intend to spray on those pesky weeds in the front yard will inadvertently kill those thriving tomato plants in the backyard vegetable garden — or even worse, drift over to your neighbor’s backyard killing her tomato plants.

There’s no doubt that we experience certain conveniences with the help of chemicals. Do your homework ahead of time and you’ll avoid poisoning yourself and the environment.

Watch the full episode! Hanks shares hints like these in each episode of Tough Grit. Visit Tough Grit online to view this episode and many more. The soil contact tips above appeared in Episode 18, “Lowering the Boom.”


Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .