How to Store Chemicals, Fertilisers, Herbicides, and Other Garden Care Products Safely

Written by Ian Thompson

Ian holds a Masters in Turf Management from Sydney University, has over 20 years experience working as a golf course Superintendent, turf manager, product formulation and development. We call him our resident Lawn genius.
Gardening is a rewarding activity that can transform your outdoor space into a beautiful oasis. However, the chemicals used in gardening, such as fertilisers, herbicides, and pesticides, need to be handled with care. Proper storage of these chemicals is crucial for your safety, the safety of your family and pets, and the environment. This guide will provide you with essential tips on how to store garden care chemicals safely.
 

Understanding the Risks

Before we dive into storage tips, it’s important to understand the potential risks associated with garden chemicals:

  • Health Risks: Inhaling, ingesting, or skin contact with these chemicals can cause serious health issues.
  • Environmental Risks: Improper storage can lead to leaks and spills, contaminating soil and water sources.
  • Fire Hazards: Many garden chemicals are flammable and need to be kept away from sources of ignition.

 

General Storage Guidelines

Be sure to check the label and SDS for storage instructions, however, here are some general guidelines to ensure safe storage:

  • Original Containers: Always store chemicals in their original containers with the labels intact. This ensures that you can easily identify the chemical and its usage instructions.
  • Secure Storage Area: Store chemicals in a locked, well-ventilated area that is out of reach of children and pets.
  • Temperature Control: Keep chemicals in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and sources of heat to prevent degradation and potential reactions.
  • Segregate Chemicals: Store different types of chemicals separately to prevent cross-contamination and dangerous reactions. Do not store your pool chemicals with your garden products.

 

Specific Storage Tips

  • Fertilisers: Store fertilisers in a dry area and reseal them after use to prevent them from clumping and becoming ineffective. Keep them away from pesticides and herbicides to avoid contamination.
  • Herbicides and Pesticides: These should be stored in a dedicated cabinet or shelf, away from fertilisers and other garden supplies. Ensure the area is well-ventilated to avoid the buildup of fumes.
  • Liquid Chemicals: Store liquid fertilisers, herbicides, and pesticides in their original containers and place them in a plastic tray to contain any potential spills.

 

    Handling Spills and Disposal

  • Immediate Action: In case of a spill, act immediately. Use absorbent materials like sand or kitty litter to soak up liquids, and then dispose of the materials safely.
  • Disposal Guidelines: Follow local regulations for the disposal of garden chemicals. Never pour them down the drain or into the soil.

 

Safety Equipment

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Always wear the appropriate PPE as advised on the label. Gloves, masks, and protective eyewear are a minimum when handling garden chemicals.
  • First Aid Kit: Keep a first aid kit handy in your storage area in case of accidental exposure.
  • In the event of exposure wash the area thoroughly and contact the Poisons Information centre on 13 11 26.

 

Regular Inspections

  • Inspect Containers: Look for signs of wear and tear on containers and replace them if necessary to prevent leaks.
  • Don’t over purchase: Be sure to check your stock in the lead up to the growing season and devise a plan to use existing/older products in a responsible way to reduce wastage.

 

Storing garden care chemicals safely is an essential part of maintaining a healthy and safe garden environment. By following these guidelines, you can protect yourself, your loved ones, and the environment from the potential hazards associated with these chemicals. Always stay informed about the best practices and handle garden chemicals with the utmost care.

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