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Pesticides and Residential Soils

Why does healthy soil matter?

You might already know that soils contain a rich variety of life besides your plants. Soils that are teeming with life produce more vegetables and fruits, and more lush lawns and green spaces than sterile soils. Fungi can develop symbiotic relationships with plants that enhance plant growth; other organisms convert plant waste and aerate the soil. Some pollinating insects make nests in the soil. When you maintain healthy soil, you can reduce the need for fertilizer and pesticides. Overuse or misuse of pesticides can damage your soil.

Tips for maintaining healthy soil:

What about pesticides that may already be in my soil?

Pesticide residue in soil may come from pesticide applications that happened long ago, pesticide applications made more recently for termite control or pesticides that were applied somewhere else. Many termiticides bind tightly to the soil, and they are intended to last a long time. The soil where the pesticides have been applied should not be disturbed to maintain the barrier around your home and to prevent exposure to the pesticide-treated soil. If you have questions about pesticide soil residue in organic farms or gardens, check with your certifying agent, or call NPIC for assistance.

If you are interested in testing your soil for pesticides, do your homework first. Make sure that the results will provide meaningful information before investing in laboratory analyses.

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Additional Resources:

Compost and Pesticides

Soil Testing

Native Gardening and Beneficial Insects

Last updated January 19, 2021

Related Topics:

What are pests?

Learn about a pest

Identify a pest

Control a pest

Integrated Pest Management

What are pesticides?





Natural and Biological Pesticides



Other types of pesticides

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