The key to a healthy lawn is healthy soil and good mowing, watering, and fertilizing practices. Healthy soil contains high organic content and is teeming with biological life. Healthy soil supports the development of healthy grass that is naturally resistant to weeds and pests. In a healthy, fertile, and well maintained lawn, diseases and pest problems are rare.
But doesn’t it cost more, you ask? If your lawn is currently chemically‐dependent, initially it may be more expensive to restore the biological life. But, in the long term, it will actually cost you less money. Once established, an organic lawn uses fewer materials, such as water and fertilizers, and requires less labor for mowing and maintenance. More importantly, your lawn will be safe for children, pets, and your local drinking water supply.
For springtime weeding problems check out Beyond Pesticides’ Simple Guide to Creating a Healthy Lawn and Least Toxic Control of Weeds factsheet, which provide tools to deal with harmful weeds around the home and strategies to encourage healthy lawns. There are only 8 steps you need to take to obtain a toxic-free lawn that you can be proud of–8 Steps to a Toxic-Free Lawn.
During summertime the pests are out in full force, and you may be at a loss as to how to control them. If you know what pests are plaguing your lawn, our ManageSafe Choose-a-Pest page will provide information on treating chigger, ants, bees, and more.
You can also hire a safe lawn care company and learn about the least toxic products that will provide you safe lawns for yourself, your neighbors, and family. Check out Safety Source: Identify Least Toxic Products & Lawn Care Companies.
Hazards of Chemical Lawn Care
Studies show that hazardous lawn chemicals are drifting into our homes where they contaminate indoor air and surfaces, exposing children at levels ten times higher than pre-application levels. Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 16 are linked with cancer or carcinogenicity, 12 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 25 with liver or kidney damage, 14 with neurotoxicity, and 17 with disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system.
Of those same 30 lawn pesticides, 19 are detected in groundwater, 20 have the ability to leach into drinking water sources, 30 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem, 29 are toxic to bees, 14 are toxic to mammals, and 22 are toxic to birds. With numbers like this, the only logical question becomes: is this really necessary and what can we do to stop or prevent this kind of contamination?
Members of the National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns are working to halt senseless exposure to lawn pesticides and to educate the public, landscapers, and policy makers on the use of non-toxic and least-toxic lawn care practices and products. Change begins at the local level. The public plays an extremely important role in lawn pesticide reform – not only in the way it perceives the use of toxic pesticides in homes and communities but also in the way it demands safe alternatives from retailers, organic services from lawn care providers, and better protection from pesticide exposure from local policy makers.
Read more about the hazards of lawn care, their impacts on children, and how to avoid being deceived by organic claims:
- Lawn Pesticide Facts & Figures
- Commonly Asked Questions on Chemical Lawn Care
- Pesticides and Playing Fields, (Referenced word version) (New)
- Children and Pesticides DON’T MIX
- Five Reasons Not to Use Weed and Feed
- Beware of Organic Claims