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Important information about handling soils, potting mix and compost.

About Handling Potting Mixes, Soils & Composts

Garden soil and products like potting mixes and composts contain micro-organisms, some of which on rare occasions, can cause illness in people. When you work with garden soils, or bags of mulch, compost and potting mix then follow these simple precautions.

Simple Safety Precautions:

  1. Gently water your garden and potted plants to minimise airborne droplets and dust.
  2. Read the warning label on bagged compost and potting mixes before use.
  3. Wear gloves and a mask when handling soil, including bagged products.
  4. Open bagged products slowly, using scissors, and lean the bag away from your face.
  5. Gently dampen any potting mixes before use.
  6. Make sure your working area, e.g. a shed, is well ventilated.
  7. Ensure to wash your hands when you're finished.

Prefer to download and print these tips out? Then click here.

Legionella is a naturally occurring microbe found in soil. When products dry out the bacteria can become dormant and form a spore.  If present, it is the opening of bags that contain dry product that can release dust into the air where people breathe it, this can cause problems for elderly or people with poor immune systems. Hence extra special care must be taken when opening bags of soil. Please follow the steps below when handling bags of soil.


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