When homeowners go to their local garden center to purchase a pesticide, they usually select from an assortment of liquid products contained in glass or plastic bottles, dusts packaged in shaker top containers, or bags of granules to be applied with a spreader. While some of the pesticide products may require mixing with water for dispersal through the gardener’s sprayer, it is increasingly common that the product will be sold already mixed and dispersible directly from its own container as a spray bottle, pressurized can, or atomizer. It is also common for the product to be multipurpose, with the pesticide or herbicide incorporated at the proper dilution as part of a combination material. Weed and feed lawn granules and sprays that contain both insecticides and fungicides exemplify these combination products. The benefits of premixed and multipurpose pesticide packaging are twofold: convenience for the consumer and greater safety since there is less chance of an incorrect dosage being applied.
Pesticides available for legal application only by professional horticulturists are packaged differently because they usually have a higher percentage of the active ingredient, and they are applied in much larger quantities. Commercial pesticides may be packaged in bags, large multigallon jugs, barrels, or as premeasured water soluble packets. Due to increased environmental concerns from the general public, government officials, and members of the green industry, many commercial pesticides are packaged in recyclable containers that are returnable to the manufacturer. That eliminates the applicator’s problem of safely disposing of empty, toxic containers. As described previously, the use of water-soluble packets ensures that the pesticide will be mixed correctly (Figure 6-16). This packaging is best suited to large scale applications since homeowners seldom can use up all of the product. Many companies are testing industry reaction to closed system packaging of various pesticides, wherein the user simply attaches a pre-measured pesticide, contained in a returnable refillable bulk tank, to their own spray apparatus, and program the proper dosage into a computer contained within the pump. Also enjoying increased use is the microinjection of fungicides directly into the roots and the vascular system of plants. Although available for a number of years, microinjection is now most valued for its packaging and delivery of the pesticide within a closed system (Figure 6-17).