Not so much if you mean that grabbing a bottle of Ortho EcoSense and blanketing your yard with it to kill all the bugs is OK. This is a new
product from parent company Scotts that features a number of demonstration
videos on its website, including some starring Martha Stewart, showing how
various mixtures of relatively harmless oils and soaps can get rid of
infestations without harming people and pets.
It’s true that the products are relatively innocuous, but they do come with disclaimers in the form of this phrase on every label and front and center on the website: not intended to imply
environmental safety either alone or compared to other products.
I liked what a Treehugger forum commenter said: I would like
to see them offer education on their site about which bugs are actually
problematic or which plants are most at risk, rather than seeing 500,000
suburbanites spraying this on every plant in their yard and every bug they see.
I like that comment because I talk to a lot of people every
year as they come through my yard during Garden Walk. The longing for an
instant solution that’s easier and faster than companion planting or just
hosing off aphids regularly or other non-chemical means is universal. We’re
Americans. We want something that works immediately and completely. The nightmare scenario is that instead
of malathion, people would just buy a case of this stuff. The ultimate
environmental effect would still be killing off wildlife in the form of bugs—many of them beneficial—and the other creatures that depend on them.
We’ll be asking our resident horticultural researcher Jeff
Gillman to do a better rundown on the ingredients of the various products here, though I believe many of them include substances he has discussed before. Stay
UPDATE: Dr. Jeff was leaving for a trip, but he had time to say this:
As with any organic products some of these make sense and some don't. The fungicide with copper? — That's a no. The soybean oil insecticide?
– I like that one. I also like their slug killer which is basically the
same as Sluggo. There are more good products than bad here, but to just
assume that they're good because they're called EcoSense? Well, all you
need to do is look at the fine print that Ortho includes on its own label.
Posted by Elizabeth Licata on June 19, 2009 at 9:00 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy.