Credit: iStock / Kalulu

Carol Pope:

Do herbicides and pesticides make a beautiful place a dangerous place, or is this simply blowing things out of proportion?

Paul J. Tukey: I have dedicated the last three years of my life to this very topic. It is now against the law to make safety claims when pesticides are involved. You simply cannot guarantee safety when pesticides are used. Every situation, every day, presents so many variables of wind, heat, humidity, rain, hot sun, sandy, clay or silty soils etc. etc. etc.

When professionals use these products, one can sometimes give them the benefit of the doubt because they take all these factors into consideration before application. But homeowners never think about these things before they get out the spreader or sprayer. Nan Sterman: Too simplistic a question. Nature is not that black and white and neither is gardening.