As the spring gardening season blossoms, there are several safety resources to consider. Whether you are planning to dig or apply pesticides, there are organizations that can help. Typically, they are just a call or click away.
Spring is a great time to plant new trees or update your landscape with new features. However, one item commonly overlooked is the location of underground utilities. No matter how much digging is involved for your project, phone the Iowa One Call system and have your underground utilities marked. Call 811 or toll-free at 800-292-8989 and your utilities will be marked in about 48 hours. Each type of utility (cable, phone, gas, electric, etc.) will send a representative to mark and flag your lot. According to the Iowa One Call website, they handle approximately 50,000 calls a month!
Questions about pesticides are also common in the springtime. Many resources, including Iowa State University Extension, are available to help answer those questions. Additionally, a national clearinghouse for pesticide questions is located at Oregon State University at the National Pesticide Information Center. Any non-emergency questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-858-7378 between 8:30 am and 6:30pm Central time. Many resources are also available on their website at http://npic.orst.edu including links to Frequently Asked Questions, Fact Sheets and Outreach Materials. Knowledge is always the best prevention.
Please take care to follow all pesticide label safety recommendations. However, the reality is that accidents happen. Therefore, all Iowans have 24/7 access to the Iowa Poison Control Center by calling 800-222-1222. Additional information is available on their website at http://iowapoison.org. The Iowa Poison Control Center answers questions on household issues beyond pesticides. An item related to gardening that may be useful is their Plant Guide brochure, which contains lists of plants commonly found in Iowa landscapes that are considered safe, mildly toxic or toxic
Gardening is one of the most commonly cited hobbies in the United States. Please help keep those gardeners safe to ensure enjoyment for years to come.