|WHY SWITCH TO AN ORGANIC LAWN?
By Yolanda Bodden
Historicaly, organic lawn care has been practiced for much longer than chemical lawn care and it can easily be implemented on any lawn. Safe and effective organic alternatives exist for most chemical pesticides and fertilizers. There is no need to expose our families, communities and local wildlife to chemicals that are known or potential hazards.
Why would you switch to an organic lawn instead of those conventional yard and lawn chemicals? Here is why:
- Chemical pesticides and fertilizers contaminate surface and groundwater. Lawn pesticides and fertilizers can contaminate surface and groundwater. This diminishes the quality of our drinking water.
- Chemical pesticides threaten the health of children. Children are the most vulnerable segment of our population due to their small size and their underdeveloped physiology. Children are also often the most exposed to pesticides due to their behavior .
- Chemical pesticides threaten the health of outdoor pets. Outdoor pets are highly exposed to lawn chemicals due to their behaviour (licking contaminated paws and coat, breathing close to the ground, eating contaminated grass, soil and toys) and are highly vulnerable due to their small size.
- Chemical pesticides threaten the health of local wildlife. Turf-dwelling and feeding species such as the American robin, Canada goose, American widgeon, European starling, common raccoon and eastern gray squirrel are highly exposed to lawn chemicals. Granular formulations pesticides can severely impact birds that mistake the granules for seed or other food items.
- Chemical pesticides and fertilizers reduce the activity of beneficial organisms. Healthy soil is alive with a variety of beneficial organisms that actually kill pest insects, decrease the spread of disease and help plants gather nutrients and water. Many of these beneficial organisms are highly exposed and highly sensitive to lawn chemicals. Pesticides and fertilizers reduce their activity levels, thereby reducing a lawn’s natural ability to control pests and diseases, gather nutrients and water and maintain overal health.
- Local wildlife need safe places to live. As more and more suburbs encroach upon natural habitats, wildlife are forced to flee or adapt to less ideal, often crowded habitats ripe with potential dangers. Exposure to lawn chemicals is one such danger. Direct exposure to these pesticides and fertilizers is dangerous, as are the effects of chemical use including decreased shelter and food opportunities.
- Chemical fertilizers are a waste of money. l They lack micro-nutrients and include no organic matter or microbes. In contrast, finished compost from your backyard bin is an organic and natural soil amendment that provides a more complete package of nutrients, organic matter and microbes. Finished compost is a free resource that also constitutes sustainable waste management, extending the lifespan of local dumps and landfills.
- Chemicals actually degrade the over-all long-term health of your lawn and garden. By frequently applying pesticides to your lawn, you may create a chemical-dependent landscape. As pest species become resistant to the chemicals designed to kil them, more concentrated doses and frequent applications are required and a never-ending cycle of increasing pest resistance and pesticide use is established. When this happens, your lawn’s health is spiraling downhill.
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