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What price are we paying for perfect lawns?

imprelis tree

 Here's another frightening example of the lack of prudent examination BEFORE new chemicals are put on the market.  Introduced in 2010 as an eco-friendly weed killer for lawns, this one is responsible for killing or damaging hundreds of thousands of trees.

"Weeks after homeowners and lawn care professionals began applying the new product on lawns, golf courses and cemeteries around the country in the spring last year, many trees on those properties, primarily conifers, started turning brown and dying. By August, DuPont had pulled it from the market, and the federal EPA banned it shortly afterward."

Turfgrass is a wonderful invention.   As a horticulture major at Oregon State University more than a few years ago, one of my favorite courses was in turf management. (Yes, I did, and do, get teased a lot about that...) One thing I remember from my studies is that it can take A LOT of chemicals to keep a lawn green and weed-free.  BUT, why do we insist on completely weed free golf courses, public spaces and even front yards? Is the price we're paying really worth it?

You can have a healthy, if not perfect, lawn & garden without the overuse of chemicals, however.

  1. Practice prudent lawn and garden chemical use. The EPA has a simple guide to maintaining a greener, healthier yard.
  2. Don't fight Mother Nature! Plant native species and you'll fight fewer pests, weeds and water less!
  3. Know what you're using! Read labels and follow instructions! Overuse of chemical fertilizers is one of the leading causes of public waterway pollution.
  4. Avoid the "Invisible Monsters".  Learn as much as you can before you choose to use chemicals. There's lots of free information available by a variety of trusted sources.

My little townhouse backyard is keeping me busy every week pulling the weeds that thrive in the DC summer heat and humidity. Every time I'm tempted to reach for the Roundup though, I remember what it was like just a little over a year ago when the radiologist confirmed the mammogram results - it was cancer.

Some of those weeds are actually kind of cute!

Stay green and healthy.

photo by John E Kaminski

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