Yes, You Need to Talk to Your Neighbors If You Insist on Using Pesticides
If you are fortunate enough to live somewhere with a beautiful lawn, landscaping or garden, you probably have your own approach to caring for them – and for some, this includes the use of pesticides. And if you and your neighbors don’t agree on spraying, it can create some tension. But given that the proponent of pesticides is throwing chemicals into the neighborhood and the environment, it should be done so that the people in the neighborhood know what, where, and when they are spraying.
In an article on BobVila.com, Mark Wolfe shares some tips and strategies for (citizen) talking to your neighbors about pesticide use and how to resolve differences. Here’s what you need to know.
How Your Neighbor’s Pesticide Use Can Affect You and Your Property
A quick note before we get into the specifics: this is not about discussing the use of pesticides in residential or commercial spaces – this is a topic for another day. Here, we’ll focus on effectively communicating with your neighbors about their spraying habits, starting with how their pesticide use can affect you and your property.
One problem, Wolfe says , is overspray. Also known as spray drift, this typically occurs when a dust treatment fluid or agent is applied to a lawn or area of vegetation on a windy day, allowing it to reach areas outside of a person’s property line. If you notice an area along or near the border between your yard and your neighbor’s yard where plants are damaged or dead, this is a sign of overspray and something to discuss with your neighbor.
How to talk to a neighbor about pesticide use
Tensions can arise between neighbors who have different approaches to pesticides, Wolfe points out, but talking about it thoughtfully can help ease the situation. Some of the main topics to be raised include:
What is sprayed
If you do spraying (or hire someone else to do it), tell your neighbors what chemicals you are using. If you’re on the other side of the equation, feel free to ask your neighbors (or the professionals they hire) what pesticides, herbicides, and / or insecticides they use.
Wolfe then suggests examining the substances used to see if they pose any risk to people or the environment. You should also consider whether you have pets that are outdoors. If something bothers you, do a little research and introduce it to your neighbor, as they may not be aware of the impact. (But if you’re going to do this, don’t be passive-aggressive or picky.) Ideally, you should come up with some kind of compromise on what is being sprayed.
When the pesticides are sprayed
Another way to deal with some situations is to ask your neighbor (or the people they hire) when they plan to spray. That way, you have early warning so you can plan your departure for that day or stay indoors to avoid chemicals and any potential odor, Wolfe explains.
Regardless of which side you are on, Wolfe says it can help explain your position to a neighbor. There are many reasons why people decide to use or not use pesticides, and it would be nice to listen to them.
Apparently, this will not be a one-time chat. Constant (and intelligent) communication with your neighbor allows you to nip any new problems in the bud and talk about what works and what doesn’t. And, as Wolfe explains, sometimes you have to agree to disagree. In some cases, legal action may be required, but Wolfe recommends using it as a last resort.