- Advice in brief on using plant protection products
- Only use authorised plant protection products
- Check if the product is authorised in Sweden
- Only use plant protection products in class 3
- New rules from October 2021
- Use alternatives to plant protection products
- Using other chemicals for plant protection
- Biological control using beneficial organisms
- Plant protection products may affect your compost
Plant protection products
Plant protection products are products you can use to protect your plants against pests and diseases, or to get rid of unwanted plants or weeds in your garden. The only plant protection products that you may use in Sweden are those authorised by the Swedish Chemicals Agency.
Most plant protection products function by harming the unwanted organisms that you wish to control. Therefore, they may also pose a risk to other living organisms.
Advice in brief on using plant protection products
- Your first-hand choice should be to use other methods than plant protection products to get healthy plants and cultivations.
- Only use plant protection products when necessary.
- Choose plant protection products which pose as low risks as possible.
- Only use plant protection products that are authorised here in Sweden, and always follow the instructions of use on the label.
Only use authorised plant protection products
In Sweden, you may only use plant protection products that have a valid authorisation from us at the Swedish Chemicals Agency. Before authorising a product, we evaluate the risks it might pose to health and the environment. The authorisation also includes conditions of use, to enable a safe use of the product. The conditions of use are shown on the label or in the instructions of use. By following them, you will use the product in a safe way. Before a product is authorised, it has also been evaluated by the Swedish Board of Agriculture for efficacy and for potential risk of damage to the plants you want to protect.
Plant protection products that are authorised by the Swedish Chemicals Agency
- have a label and instructions of use in Swedish
- have a four-digit registration number, or a number beginning with the code PHT-
- can be found in the Swedish Pesticides Register External link. (Bekämpningsmedelsregistret), where you can check the registration number and if the product is still allowed to be used.
When new knowledge about risks emerges, it sometimes happens that plant protection products are withdrawn from the market or get stricter conditions of use to enable safe use. Products that are no longer authorised nor allowed to be used must be disposed of as hazardous waste.
Check if the product is authorised in Sweden
If you would like to buy the plant protection product via internet, check first if the product has a valid Swedish registration number. Otherwise, you are not allowed to use the product in Sweden. When shopping on the internet the shop is obliged to provide you with all hazard information already before buying. Check the conditions of use before buying the product, to ensure that you may use the product in the way you intend to.
As a private user you are not allowed to import plant protections products to Sweden from other countries. This also applies when ordering a product through e-commerce on the internet.
Only use plant protection products in class 3
Authorised plant protection products are divided into so called authorisation classes. Products authorised in and labelled with class 3 are the only products allowed to be used by private consumers.
Products authorised in class 3 have lower risks, since they contain active substances with low or limited risks. Some examples of products that you are allowed to use include:
- herbicides containing acetic acid, pelargonic acid or capric- and caprylic acid
- moss remedies containing iron (II)sulphate
- snail repellents containing ferric phosphate
- fungicides containing sulphur
- wildlife deterrents containing sheep fat.
New rules from October 2021
From the first of October 2021, there is a new ban in Sweden on the use of plant protection products. The ban applies in certain types of areas, for instance in private gardens and around residential buildings, in allotments gardens and on plants indoors. The products will also be banned in public areas like school yards, playgrounds and in public parks. The new ban means that private users may no longer use plant protection products containing glyphosate, pyrethrins, flupyradifurone or acetamiprid.
Specific regulations may later apply for the control of invasive plants as for example Parkslide. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is the authority responsible for such rules.
Use alternatives to plant protection products
To protect your garden from fungi and insects without the use of chemical plant protection products, you can:
- choose resistant plant varieties
- pre-cultivate the soil
- use protective covering
- spray off aphids with water
- remove weeds by mechanical means
- drain your garden
- use fertilizers
- prune trees and bushes.
Using other chemicals for plant protection
Some chemical products, such as table salt, soaps and vinegar, are popular to use in home gardens. However, for plant protection, you may only use chemicals that are approved for such use. For example, it is not allowed to spread salt to get rid of weeds, or to spray aphids with some cleaning mixture.
There are however around twenty different household chemical products and other substances that you may use for plant protection although they lack authorisation.
Examples of such chemicals are nettle extract, fructose, sunflower oil and vinegar, for use against for instance fungal diseases like mildew, or against aphids or other pests.
Biological control using beneficial organisms
Certain worms (so called nematodes), insects and spiders can be used to control plant pests. Examples include parasitic nematodes against snails, or insects or mites that attack plant pests. Today these species are mostly used in professional greenhouses, but they may also be used by non-professional users. The species that are allowed to be used in Sweden are approved by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
Plant protection products may affect your compost
Potted plants and cut flowers that you buy may have been treated with plant protection products. Some of these products contain active substances affecting the growth of plants and are very persistent in plants and in soil. Therefore, it may be wise to avoid putting potted plants and cut flowers in your compost. The active substances affecting the plant growth may remain in your compost and adversely affect the plants you grow with soil from your compost.