Published on 06/18/09

Miracle gardening products most likely aren’t

By Charlie Christian
Georgia Master Gardener

From diet pills to wrinkle cream, if a product sounds too good to be true, chances are it is. Cable television and the Internet are filled with advertisements for wonder products. With gardening being a favorite outdoor activity, many of these so-called miracle products are designed with gardeners in mind.

One example is foolproof pesticides that are supposed to eradicate everything from Japanese beetles to millipedes. And herbicides that will supposedly last for months and eradicate almost any weed.

I recently heard a radio advertisement for a product that claims to kill Japanese beetles 'year-round. Being a Master Gardener, trained by the University of Georgia, I didn’t believe this claim for a minute. Unfortunately, the average homeowner or novice gardener may.

To avoid being burned by the latest revolutionary product, gardeners should read product labels thoroughly.

And it doesn’t hurt to know a little chemistry. Become familiar with potential active ingredients such as glyphosate, bifenthrin, triclopyr, cyfluthrin, imidacloprid, trifluralin and spinosad.

When using a new gardening product, ask yourself a few questions: Are there any potential hazards? Will the product harm pets, wildlife or bees? Can it be safely applied in or near vegetable gardens or near a water source?

Before you purchase a product based on a flashy TV advertisement, do some personal homework. One good resource is the Web site Here consumers can find unbiased research-based recommendations.

The Environmental Protection Agency's Web site at lists the different types of pesticides and their requirements.

For in-depth information on managing pests, see the UGA Pest Management Handbook online at or contact your local UGA Cooperative Extension Office at 1-800-ASK-UGA1.

Know the facts before getting drawn in by advertising claims that are likely too good to be true.

(Charlie Christian is a Morgan County Master Gardener and an avid gardener.)

Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.