Perfect Earth Project

How perfect.

Soft, lush, gorgeously green.

Perfect for a game, a picnic, or a nap.

How perfect? Perfectly toxic.

America’s 40 million acres of lawns are doused with approximately 250 million pounds of pesticides yearly  * 

Landscape Pesticides can cause cancer, Parkinson’s disease, nervous disorders, asthma and hormone disruption. The chemical lawn is especially harmful to children and pets. And anyone who sits, plays, entertains, or occasionally nibbles on it. And, get this, lawn chemicals are totally unnecessary.

It’s time for the PRFCT lawn.

© Philippe Cheng
© Philippe Cheng

The PRFCT lawn looks the same, but it is safe. Safe for your kids, pets, friends, and neighbors.

The PRFCT lawn is no more expensive or difficult to maintain.

The chemical lawn is in a constant battle with nature. The PRFCT lawn is resilient. It works with nature to stay vibrant, green, and healthy.


The Perfect Earth Project promotes toxin-free lawn and landscape management for the benefit of human health and the environment.


How dangerous is a chemical lawn?

The Chemicals

Of the 30 most common lawn pesticides:

  • 17 are probable or possible human carcinogens
  • 11 are linked with birth defects
  • 19 are linked with reproductive effects
  • 14 are associated with neurotoxicity
  • 24 linked to liver or kidney damage
  • 25 are sensitizers or irritants
  • 18 are endocrine disrupters

more info: Lawn and Ornamental Pests Charts
Health Warnings and Pesticides, what does it all mean.

2-3 times the amount of pesticides are used on an acre of home lawns vs. an acre of agriculture

more info: Dangers of 5 Step Programs

4-7 times the amount of pesticides are used on an acre of golf course vs. an acre of agriculture

Children

  • Children can not process pesticides at the same rate as adults
  • 50% of lifetime exposure to pesticides occurs during first 5 years of life
Pets

ASPCA received over 4,300 calls regarding pesticide exposure to dogs and cats in July, 2003

  • Nearly half (48%) of all July and August calls to the Animal Poison Control Center involve pesticides, mainly from dogs and cats walking on pesticide treated lawns
  • Over 50% of feline poisonings, and 15.7% of all pet poisonings reported to the Animal Posion Control Center in 2013 involved insecticides
  • Dogs exposed to 2,4-d, one of the most common pesticides applied to lawns and landscapes, can develop canine malignant lymphoma
  • Pet exposure to Malathion, a common tree and ornamental pesticide, can affect the function of the immune system, cause chest pains and difficult breathing, and is an endocrine disruptor (effects hormones)
  • Dogs and cats are exposed to pesticides from rodenticides, posoins intended to kill rodents, when they eat dead or poisoned rodents in your yard
  • Puppies and kittens treated with flea and tick medication (Frontline, BioSpot) are at particular risk for effects on their nervous system and sever skin irritation
  • Pets bring pesticides into the house, on your couch, and into your bed
Environment

  • Over 100 pesticides have been detected in Long Island, NY’s sole source drinking water aquifer
  • The “Toxic Fairways” study found golf course pesticides as likely contributors to the pesticide contamination of Long Island, NY’s vulnerable sole source drinking water aquifer
Golf

  • There are over 15,000 golf courses in America, encompassing over 4 million acres of land
  • Golf courses use 4-7 times the amount of pesticides, per acre, than agricultural land
  • In the mid 90’s, 52 golf courses in NYS reported using over 200,000 pounds of dry pesticides and close to 9,000 gallons of liquid pesticides on their courses annually
  • Golf course superintendents showed particularly elevated mortality due to brain cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and diseases of the nervous system, including Parkinson’s Disease
  • Golf course superintendents exhibit proportionately larger mortality due to cancer, respiratory and neurological diseases compared to the general public
  • A study of golf courses in Canada and the US revealed increased cancer rates and genotoxicity in rodents living on golf courses
  • Golfers track pesticides into their cars, homes and workplaces
Ticks

  • Broadcast tick sprays most commonly contain permethrin and bifenthrin, have human health risks, specifically to the reproductive and immune system, in addition to being acutely toxic if ingested at high doses
  • Broadcast treatments tend to be ineffective, as ticks generally hide on the under sides of leaves and must be directly exposed to the pesticide
  • Permethrin and Bifenthrin are particularly toxic to pollinators such as honeybees, and are moderately toxic to birds
  • More Information: Tick Manifesto

How to be PRFCT

Basics

  1. Soil: the foundation for plant health, strong deep roots and nutrient uptake. Chemicals kill the natural immune systems that occur in soil. Healthy soil contains organisms that fight lawn and landscape pests, eliminating the need for continual toxic pesticide treatments.
  2. Water: Over watering promotes shallow rooting, fungus diseases, mosquitoes, and nutrient run off. Do not start watering in early summer until the weather is truly dry. Monitor your irrigation settings: water infrequently and deeply.
  3. Mowing Mow high: 3-4”. Longer leaf blades collect more sun, provide more energy to roots and shade out weeds. Mow often: remove no more than 1/3 of a leaf blade at a time. Mow sharp: dull mower blades tear grass which invites fungus infections. Leave clippings: grass clippings return nutrients to the soil.
  4. Aeration: Aerate annually, more often in high traffic areas. Aeration reduces compaction and encourages better drainage and incorporation of nutrient.
  5. Fertilization: Feed lawns in fall only. Spring fertilization encourages fast, weak growth and invites disease problems in hot weather. Use compost or slow-release, organic fertilizer. Slow release fertilizers feed your lawn continuously over the course of the growing season, eliminating the peaks and valleys of chemical fertilization. They are also less likely to run off, reducing the risk for watershed pollution.
  6. Overseeding: Rake and over seed in fall when grass seed germinates best and weed seeds are dormant. Grass will then outcompete weeds in spring.
  7. Diversity: Clover fixes nitrogen (natural fertilizer) and fills gaps in lawns. Dandelions are excellent aerators and are soon overwhelmed by the healthy turf they pioneered.
  8. BE PATIENT: Most good things take time, and a healthy, pest resistant lawn is no different. By making your lawn accustomed to gradual, rather than rapid change, you produce a balanced ecosystem that is resilient to environmental stresses around it.
Homeowners

WHAT LEVEL OF LAWN CARING ARE YOU?

LOW: PRFCTLY relaxed.

  1. Mow high (3”), leave grass clippings in place.
  2. Water deeply , if you wish, when the weather is dry in the summer and grass looks stressed.
  3. Rake dead and weedy patches in fall and spread a tough fescue seed mix.
  4. Mulch mow leaves and leave in place or blow them into flower and shrub beds.

MEDIUM: PRFCT –ish

All of the above plus…
  1. Sharpen your mower blades.
  2. Mow short (1-2”) in fall or very early spring, rake and overseed, All other times mow at 3”. Raking or mowing short in the growing season will activate weed seeds.
  3. Water regularly, but seldom (max 2X/week) and deep, starting in summer (not spring) when ground is dry.
  4. Be patient with weeds. A healthy lawn will shade and crowd them out over time. Learn to love Dandelions , their tap roots are great aerators. Celebrate clover, it fixes nitrogen and feeds your lawn. The dwarf Dutch variety is tiny and stays green in hot and dry weather.
  5. Aerate when you rake and overseed in the fall. Spread some compost. Consider adding dwarf Dutch clover in sunny difficult patches. It stays green in hot and dry spells.
  6. Compost. Once in a while.

HIGH: OH SO PRFCT

All of the above plus…
  1. Mow more often during spring and early summer when grass is growing faster. Try to never cut more than 1/3 of the grass blade.
  2. Measure your irrigation system output and set timing to maintain ideal soil moisture. Fungus problems are generally related to over watering.
  3. Aerate regularly especially compacted and difficult areas.
  4. Test soil and fertilize accordingly with compost/compost tea/ or specially adjusted fertilizer mixes. There is such a thing as too much compost or fertilizer.
  5. Weed by hand or use corn gluten applications.
  6. Control grubs with nematodes. Fungicides kill nematodes, if you have been using fungicides, it may take a while to get a nematode population reestablished.

What else can I do?

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