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Alternatives to Chemical Lawn Treatments

You know what really grinds my gears?

Lawn chemicals being advertised as grass “food”.

Let’s call a duck a duck. Herbicides and pesticides (aka lawn chemicals) are formulated for one purpose and that’s basically to kill everything on your lawn, except grass.

When did sacrificing the health of homeowners, their families, pets and all other forms of life become okay for the attainment of a weed-free lawn?

Grrr. That imaginary property line does NOT contain your pestcidal drift, my dear neighbor.

Lawn chemicals are readily inhaled, tracked inside the home and absorbed though the skin. The National Academy of Sciences report that at least 1 out of 7 people are significantly harmed by pesticide exposure. The chemicals used on lawns can cause coughing, muscle pain, sleep disorders, fatigue, etc – with long term documented consequences of lowered fertility, immune disorders, and cancer.[*]

“Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 are linked with cancer or carcinogenicity, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 15 with neurotoxicity, and 11 with disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system. Of those same pesticides, 17 are detected in groundwater, 23 have the ability to leach into drinking water sources, 24 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms vital to our ecosystem, 11 are toxic to bees, and 16 are toxic to birds.” [*]

Using chemicals on grass in hopes to achieve a ‘weed-free’ lawn is completely absent of logic. Chemicals kill earthworms and other living organisms that live in the ground that help grow grass. Lawn chemicals also add salt and changes the pH of the soil which aids in breeding of harmful insects.[*]

Where is the logic in this?

The grass, soil and the eco-structure of the lawn wholly changes and becomes reliant on more and more chemicals to maintain the artificial eco-configuration. In all actuality, the chemicals used on grass over a long period of time can actually help the very pests they target by eliminating their predators – making their use self-perpetuating.

Good for lawn chemical businesses – not so good for your grass (or your health).

But don’t fret, I’ve been reading and learning more about how to maintain a healthy lawn, free of weird synthetic chemicals, because my husband is adamant about how our grass looks.

So here is to the lawn-conscious husbands (and wives).

There are a lot of things you can do to create a more beautiful lawn. Although, a completely weed-free lawn is not enterly practical, you can get very close without the use of nasty chemicals.

First, you need to think of weeds as a symptom of other problems. You have to adjust the current conditions (such as compacted soil, too wet/dry areas, shady spots, mowing too low,etc) to reduce weeds.[*]

Most of the following would be fun to do with kids too – and would provide a great opportunity to teach them about how we are all interconnected with the planet!

Mow high.
Mowing too low places stress on grass plants and exposes growing weeds to sunlight. Let the grass grow a little – who wouldn’t like this tip?

Plant worms.
Planting earthworms are hugely beneficial to grass. Worms provide free fertilizer, aerate soil and even eat cur grass.

Refrain from watering.
During certain dry periods, allow the grass to enter its natural dormancy…and give the pocket book a little breather.

It’s good to cut these particular weeds out by hand at the root. Get some vitamin D, and put the kids to work collecting dandelions.

Compacted dirt will promote weeds. Aerate your lawn twice a year and plant grass which will choke out weeds (pick varieties that are resistant to drought and need little mowing).

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