San Francisco Department of the Environment

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Safely Care for Plants and Pollinators


Anise Swallowtail with Alyssum flowers. Photo by Peter Alexander
 

Many pesticides can harm bees, birds, and butterflies. You probably don’t need pesticides to keep a garden healthy. If you do plan to use pesticides, use pollinator-safe products. 

Do I need to use pesticides to solve this garden challenge? 

No, not usually. To safely resolve your pest challenges, ask a Master Gardener by calling (650) 276-7430, Mondays and Thursdays 9am-4pm. Volunteer Master Gardeners who staff the telephone help line are certified community volunteers that provide free, one-on-one advice, assisting home gardeners with questions about gardening and pest management. 

If you choose to use garden products, find nurseries and hardware stores selling pollinator-safe products. The nurseries and stores listed provide fact sheets and signage to make it easy to choose safer products. When you are at the nursery, check a product for the Our Water, Our World logo. Avoid combination fertilizer-pesticide products, which add chemicals to your garden that you may not need. 

Where can I get professional landscaping support? 

Bay-Friendly landscaping professionals use a sustainable approach to create healthy, drought-resistant landscapes. 


Flowering Maple (Abutilon). Photo by Peter Alexander

Gardening Tips

Seeking Perfection? 
Plants don’t need to be perfect. They can take some insect damage and be just fine.

Observe & Interact
Enjoy and observe your garden often, so you can catch problems early. 

In Moderation
Water and fertilize just enough. 

Mulch! Compost!
To suppress weeds and reduce your watering needs, apply 2”- 6” of coarse mulch. Keep your soil healthy by using compost in your garden.

Weeds or Dinner? 
Not all weeds are invasive. Some of the plants that you call weeds, a pollinator calls dinner!

 


Related Content

General Resources

Pests & Pesticides

Gardening Tips

 

          

 


yarrow and swallowtail butterflies

 

 

 

 

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