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Licensed commercial applicators meet high standards


Spring is in the air. With warmer weather and longer days come greener grass, blooming bulbs, and weeds. Don't just hire the first person who leaves a flyer on your doorstep without first determining if the applicator is appropriately licensed to do the work. The Colorado Departments of Agriculture recommends hiring only licensed commercial pesticide applicators.

The Colorado Pesticide Applicators' Act requires any person or company that applies pesticides for hire, whether they are applying to a structure, a landscape, or agricultural area, to be licensed as a commercial applicator.

Herbicides, chemicals used to control weeds, are pesticides. Even those companies advertising they only use organic or natural weed control products are still applying pesticides as defined by the law. Companies providing weed control services using any herbicide must be licensed. Confusion often arises when companies only provide fertilization and aeration services. Licensing as a pesticide applicator is not required if fertilization and aeration are the only services provided. If, however, a company applies 'weed and feed' or provides spot treatment for control of weeds, they must be licensed.

"Every licensed commercial applicator in Colorado has to meet strict testing requirements that are enforced by the Colorado Department of Agriculture," said Matt Lopez, pesticide enforcement specialist for CDA's Pesticide Section. "For better environmental and public safety, they must have the necessary training, expertise and experience to apply these chemicals."

A person or company that performs applications for hire without holding the appropriate license may receive a fine of up to $1,000 per violation.

In addition to licensing commercial applicators, CDA officials conduct routine office inspections to review records of applications, equipment maintenance and storage and disposal of pesticides.

The Department also investigates pesticide use and application complaints. Contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture Pesticide Section at 303-239-4151 or online at www.colorado.gov/ag/dpi with additional questions, to determine if a lawn care company is licensed or to file a pesticide misapplication complaint.

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