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Integrated Pest Management · Agriculture and Natural Resources

University of California

For Retail Nurseries
& Garden Centers


What can you do to protect water quality?

  • Limit pesticide use. Use nonchemical methods or least-toxic pesticides wherever possible. Ask a UC Master Gardener for help with pest problems.
  • Avoid using pyrethroid insecticides. These products, including bifenthrin, cypermethrin, and permethrin, are among the most toxic to aquatic animals.
  • Control ants by reducing food sources, excluding them from homes, and using baits in containers, instead of spraying.
  • Cut back on fertilizer. More is not better. Actively-growing turf, flowering shrubs, and some annuals and fruit trees require regular feeding, but ornamental trees do not.
  • Use slow-release fertilizers, including composted organic fertilizers, which are less likely to move into water. Measure and apply them according to label directions.
  • Don’t let fertilizer or pesticides get onto hard surfaces such as sidewalks or driveways. Sweep any material that accidentally lands on hard surfaces back onto lawn.
  • Dispose of garden chemicals correctly. Never sweep, hose off, or pour leftover pesticides or fertilizers into drains or gutters.
  • Reduce your landscape’s need for water. Choose water-efficient plants and garden designs.
  • Minimize runoff by using mulches in beds and permeable materials for walkways and driveways. Aerate and add organic matter such as compost to heavy or compacted soils.
  • Check and maintain your irrigation system so water does not run off your landscape onto hard surfaces and into gutters.
  • Improve watering efficiency and distribution by using equipment such as drip irrigation, soaker hoses, and “smart” irrigation controllers and rotor heads.

For additional information and resources, see the main Home & Landscape pages.