A concerning trend growing on social-media is asking for pesticide and herbicide questions. Questions such as what kind/brand, how much to apply, will it do this/that; all will be asked this time of year on social media. Every time I read these questions, it makes my stomach turn. Based on recommendations from strangers online, many people run out and buy whatever herbicide was recommended to them, when in reality the only advice should be “READ THE LABEL.”

These Facebook experts share their experiences which are littered with their biases when not a single one has even seen the area where the herbicide is being applied. We don’t take prescription drugs based on Twitter recommendations without seeing a doctor first, but people are willing to use chemicals to kill individual plants while allowing others to thrive based on the word of someone 1,000 miles (or more) away.

While as well-intentioned as some online posts might be, they often leave out the nuances that make herbicide applications so tricky. Such as, many herbicides have a limit to how many ounces can be applied in a given area over the course of a year. So while someone says ‘go hot with your mix’ meaning to add a few extra ounces to the ratio, you could be doing more damage than good. Additionally, some herbicides are post-emergent, and some are pre-emergent and not knowing the differences between them could mean the difference in a growing field of natives or a barren wasteland for months/years to come. Did you know some herbicides become highly volatile when applied at different times of the year/day? Did you know that some herbicides will kill native grasses and wildflowers but that same herbicide applied in future years will not kill the grasses and forbs?

There is so much to learn about herbicides and their applications that random videos on YouTube should not dictate your herbicide selection or application rates. READ THE LABEL. If you can’t put in the time to at least do that, you have no business applying herbicide in the first place. And for the love of all things habitat, wear the proper protections. Accidents happen. We all know how to hold our cell phones, but from time to time, we still drop it. It’s an accident. You don’t set out to splash glyphosate on your face, but a sudden fall, drop, or a collision could lead to that very thing. So please, when you’re handling and when applying herbicides, take necessary precautions to protect yourself from accidents.

And just because you see it online, does not make it true. The billboard from the movie Fight Club comes to mind.