Systemic pesticides

Mid-Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 5b)

Forgive me for popping in out of nowhere please. I bought container plants and had a hanging basket givne to me and I am concerned with the so-called neonics (Neonicotinoids) that are absorbed by plants and then delivered to the insects as they feed.

Has anyone tried to find out what insecticides were used on their bedding or container plants this season?

Thomaston, CT

No, sorry, never thought about it......I know a lot of our bedding plants here are grown by greenhouses in Cheshire, CT ....really don't know if there's any way to find out what they are using....I plant very few bedding plants that I buy.......most of what I plant I have raised myself.....still I do buy some tomatoes & marigolds.....

Mid-Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 5b)

I wish I knew how to find out. I've seen press releases by Home depot committing to phase out use in all plants they offer. I would think, given the publicity, there would be more people advertising their insistence on neonic free bedding plants. I do buy organic when I can and that means no systemic pesticides, but there isn't much offered and its' pretty expensive.

I was just wondering if anyone else out there was concerned.

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

I changed my buying habits drastically because of the neonics.
I spend most of my money at native plant sales and nurseries that give assurances not to use the systemics.
I no longer impulse buy elsewhere.

annapolis, MD(Zone 7b)

Home Depot here does not tag plants 'Neonic free', but a number of plants have insert tags that read basically "This plant is being protected for you from, aphids, flea beetles, etc by Neonicintinoids"!!

As far as I know most of the perennials. trees and shrubs (and even Bonnies veggies and herbs) are routinely treated throughout the growing process and upon shipment. I had to leave the HD garden area when a new truck load arrived because the off gassing was so bad it was hard for me to breathe. Whatever ppm is deemed 'safe' for humans cannot possibly be 'safe' for our itsy bitsy pollinators! And neonics and other such likes bio-accumulate and remain in the body and soil. And our bird and amphibian fellow sojourners feed themselves and their young on the neonic etc laden bugs and bio accumulate, too. And some bugs benefit from neonic use so the predator/prey balance is thrown off. So a plus for the mites that infest honeybee colonies and another blow to our bees. No one yet knows how neonics effect the 20,000 or so varieties of wild bees who do much more of the pollinator work than honey bees but they are in serious decline also.

I found out lots when I went looking to buy Milkweed plants to feed some very hungry Monarch Butterfly cats. Unless a nursery grows their own starter plants, they cannot gaurantee that no
insecticide, fungicide, systemic etc has been used on their plants, their environs or the seed start or soil or growing medium that will not potentually harm or kill a Monarch cat. I found I was safer harvesting leaves from what wild patches of Milkweed I could locate and then thoroughly washing them because as long as they were far from agricultural or landscaped areas, at least I knew there were likely no systemics in the leaves.

The bedding plant/plant industry is huge..Lots of $$$ and the way to present a perfect product to the consumer is currently chemical controls: the best looking plants sell first and best after all, who wants a chewed up plant in one's yard!

I just googled 'phasing out of neonics'...a place to start
https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&biw=&bih=&q=phasing+out+the+use+of+neonicitinoids&gbv=2&oq=phasing+out+the+use+of+neonicitinoids&gs_l=heirloom-hp.3...0.0.1.36.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0....0...1ac..34.heirloom-hp..19.2.513.DDYA_ZiKbwg

Northern, NJ(Zone 6b)

coleup, this is really disturbing when you think of how many well intentioned people are buying plants from the big box stores because of convenience and price.
I had no idea the spraying was on all plants.

What do you suggest?

I know I really go far, up to 2 hrs. to get non treated plants.
This is not always practical or possible for others.

annapolis, MD(Zone 7b)

Jessica and Candy
I just read this article today about Color Spot Nurseries, one of the largest wholesale growers of bedding plants in the industry. Seems they are considering growing 'chemical free' milkweed plants to supply Home Depots, Lowes. Walmart, etc.

http://texasbutterflyranch.com/2015/02/27/mega-grower-color-spot-nursery-to-consider-growing-clean-chemical-free-milkweed/

While I am thrilled at their considering such a venture I couldn't help but be aware as I read, what a multiple challenge it will be for them as it is so far from industry wide standard operating procedures (Note the comment in article re having to cover a hoop house with poly instead of shade cloth to keep adjacent chemical usage out .for instance)

Mid-Hudson Valley, NY(Zone 5b)

I read with interest the links you provided Coleup. It's good that the Texas grower is paying attention, but only the milkweed? Butterflies will feed on all the flowers in all the gardens on the way to and from laying eggs on the milkweed. The cats will be free of neonics when they leave the milkweed plant, but then begin accumulating them the minute they move on in their life cycle. And, what's the impact of the neonics on the eggs the adults are laying?

I find that in my gardens this year there are even fewer pollinators than last year. I've not planted any bedding plants this year other that the ones raised at my local farm coop. So, I'm on the one hand not offering a variety of nectar plants for the bees but I'm not poisoning them either.

I just wish there was a clear way forward here. Raising bedding plants from seed isn't an option for me right now so I'll just have to rely on what ever will grow from seed in the garden itself. That's not a catastrophe but its not as fun either.

Thanks for the discussion. It will remain a concern for me.

Lexington, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the discussion. It is very expensive to purchase organic mulch and soil from a reputable dealer, but that is my main contribution to the subject, and I think it is making a difference in my own yard, considering the busy insect activity. Then besides that, I don't buy bedding plants anymore from the local stores.

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