Organic Lawn Care


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.

Honey bees at The Farm at St. Joe's have all died the past four years.

Honey bees at The Farm at St. Joe’s have all died the past four years.

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

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es960111r

 

The Lawn Chemical Ritual

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mckay-jenkins-phd/the-lawn-chemical-ritual_b_852215.html?view=print&comm_ref=false

 

Are Neonicotinoids Killing Bees?

http://www.xerces.org/neonicotinoids-and-bees/

 

Lawn Pesticides: An Unacceptable Risk

http://ny.audubon.org/sites/default/files/documents/lawnflyer_0.pdf

 

Save Lake Erie before its too late

http://www.freep.com/article/20140422/OPINION05/304220017/Lake-Erie-algea-blooms

 

Ontario’s Cosmetic Pesticides Ban

http://news.ontario.ca/ene/en/2009/03/ontarios-cosmetic-pesticides-ban.html

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Organic Lawn Care

  1. http://www.growingagreenerworld.com/episode305/

    Hi Dan,

    Thank you for this thoughtful post. I have the same concerns. I have shared a show episode from Growing a greener world, not sure if you are familiar with it. This episode is about a private 16 acre estate all organically grown, lawn included. I thought you might be interested.

    All the best,

    Bridget Smith

  2. Thank you for this important message. You might look into corn gluten as pre emerge and fertilizer for the lawn

  3. Hi Dan, Listened to a very interesting radio chat from KERA called ‘Think’ where Dr Diane Lewis is interviewed about gardening products and drinking water, Our ground water is being poisoned with terrible chemicals with long term effects on EVERYONES health. A lot of common sense spoken. Selling lawn mowers and other garden products for a living I have become aware of these potential problems lurking on the shelves of every garden shop !! It needs a mind shift towards a more natural method of pest control, if we are to prevent a disaster. All the signs are there, the disappearance of so many Bees, increases in pets falling ill, birds being wiped out in millions and measurable levels of poisons in our drinking water.

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