I’ve been thinking about organic lawn care a lot lately. I’m concerned for the honey bees that have all died the past four years at The Farm. I’m also concerned for the humans and animals that walk and graze on the grassy areas of our neighborhoods. I’m concerned for our rivers and lakes. I’m concerned for the people who apply these chemicals.
This is the time of year you start seeing weekend warriors and landscaping companies spraying lawns again. At local hardware stores, the amount of chemicals, including pesticides and herbicides, available to make lawns look nice is breathtaking. Unfortunately, just because these products are available off the shelf doesn’t mean that they are safe. At The Farm at St. Joe’s, and at my own house, I follow strict organic growing practices for the food and non food plants that I steward.
This morning I ran across this article in the Detroit Free Press talking about huge toxic algae blooms in western Lake Erie resulting from too many nutrients, including agriculture and likely including lawn fertilizer.
I did a little research and uncovered a plethora of research and writing regarding the negative consequences of chemicals used in lawn care, including safer organic alternatives. I learned a lot this morning reading through some articles. Ontario has a ban on cosmetic pesticides. Pesticides come into our houses on our shoes and pose special risks to kids crawling on our floors.
This spring and summer why don’t you try to keep your garden and lawn organic? Use compost to fertilize your lawns. If you can’t accept dandelions, be like my mother-in-law and remove 200 per day by hand. Also, the little flowers that grow in our lawns benefit the bees in our gardens. Ditch the pre and post emergent herbicides and ditch the 2,4-D and ditch the spray bottles of herbicides.
Here’s a list of reading to keep you busy before you start gardening this year:
Measuring Transport of Lawn-Applied Herbicide Acids from Turf to Home: Correlation of Dislodgeable 2,4-D Turf Residues with Carpet Dust and Carpet Surface Residues
The Lawn Chemical Ritual
Are Neonicotinoids Killing Bees?
Lawn Pesticides: An Unacceptable Risk
Save Lake Erie before its too late
Ontario’s Cosmetic Pesticides Ban