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University of Illinois Extension

Prepare to Store your Yard and Garden Products Properly for Winter

November 8, 2013

Editor's Note: This is part one of a two-part series on preparing yard and garden equipment for winter. This release focuses on proper storage of pesticides and products, and part two will discuss tools.

ST. CHARLES, Ill. – As the clocks get set back, do not fall behind on preparing your lawn and garden products for the coming winter. A little extra time this fall, may save you money and trouble next spring.

"Fertilizers, pesticides and other similar products need to be stored properly for effective future use," said University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Richard Hentschel, who serves DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties. "In late fall, apply any small leftover quantities of these products as the label intended, that way you do not need to store them."

Hentschel also recommends only purchasing enough of a product to be used in a single season. "However, it is easy to buy the larger volume that's on sale, or to accumulate two or three bottles of the same product because it was misplaced or forgotten," he said.

In those cases, he offers the following tips on winterizing fertilizers, pesticides and other similar products so that homeowners may use them again in the spring.

First, sort out what items can be used up yet this fall, and what containers need to be stored.

Then, decide where to store the additional products this winter. "Choose a heated garage or shed, or the basement," said Hentschel. "Cool and dry is a good rule of thumb when storing granulars, dusts and powders. Liquids need to avoid extreme cold or hot."

If products will be stored in the house, under the sink is not the best place for them. Consider a shelf in a back room, or another inaccessible or even a locked place. "Make safety your top priority," advised Hentschel. "Keep products in their original containers, and store them up high or out of reach of children or pets."

Next, evaluate the products for viability before moving them to the chosen location. Always read the label and follow manufacturer recommendations. This may include product life expectancy, but if stored improperly, the products may lose efficacy faster. Helpful guidelines include:

Finally, consider steps to help simplify the process next year, Hentschel said.

For more information on handling household yard and garden products properly, visit www.thisland.illinois.edu/57ways/57ways_23.html.

To properly dispose of any materials, contact municipal or local authorities for process instructions in your area. Additionally, the Illinois EPA does periodically host one-day collections for disposal of household hazardous waste, and a long-term facility is located in Naperville. For more information on that process, call 630-420-6095.

For information on the University of Illinois Extension Horticulture programs in your county, visit web.extension.illinois.edu/dkk/. University of Illinois Extension provides educational programs and research-based information to help Illinois residents improve their quality of life, develop skills and solve problems. University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.


Source: Richard Hentschel, Extension Educator, Horticulture, hentsche@illinois.edu

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