Dealing with Drift on Garden and Landscape Plants

May 18, 2022 9:06 AM
Blog Post

When a pesticide application moves beyond the application site to a place it’s not wanted – known as pesticide drift – it can cause damage to acreages, gardens, and landscape plants. Pesticide drift can occur virtually anywhere – in rural areas, towns, and cities.

Are You Sure It’s Drift?

It is important to remember that insects, diseases, and environmental stress can cause symptoms that may be easily confused with pesticide injury. The Horticulture and Home Pest News website provides answers to gardening questions and links for more information. In addition, the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic can help diagnose plant problems, but does not assess herbicide damage or test for residues. Private labs can conduct pesticide residue testing.

Reporting Drift  

If you experience pesticide drift, report the incident as soon as possible to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. You can file an “incident report” with the Department’s Pesticide Bureau by calling 515-281-8591 or by emailing the information to The Department’s Pesticide Use Investigations and Enforcement website provides an overview of the investigation process and frequently asked question about pesticide drift.


Elizabeth Danielson Extension Specialist

Betsy Danielson is an extension specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in the Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP).