Tagged with "Water"
The word lawn comes from the Old English for an “open space." Both European and American aristocracy had estates with lawns, but working class people used their land to grow food.
A big change came for the American “lawnscape” in the 1950s in response to the trauma of WWII. In new, orderly housing developments such as Levittown, the first neighborhood lawn standards were adopted. Military uniformity prevailed with ready access to cheap, war-surplus chemicals that had been rebranded as lawn fertilizers and pesticides. Now a $60 billion per year industry, lawn grass is the cheapest landscape to plant and the most expensive to maintain.
In order to thrive, American lawns consume 20 trillion gallons of water, 90 million pounds of fertilizer, 78 million pounds of pesticides and 600 million gallons of fossil fuels per year. We now know so much more about how dangerous and unnecessary these chemicals are, and how many resources are drained maintaining on our yards.
The next generation of lawns will be less toxic and more environmentally friendly: smaller (think area rug instead of wall-to-wall), more biodiverse and chemical free.
Pre-emergent are herbicides designed to kill weed seeds BEFORE they sprout. They are usually granular and are applied to lawns and flower beds in the spring, but they persist for three months – that means prolonged time for human exposure.
Below we have gathered important information about some typical active ingredients and their effects:
Prodiamine – carcinogen, neurotoxicity
Pendimethalin – extremely toxic to fish and aquatic organisms
Isoxaben – possible carcinogen, kidney/liver damage, toxic to birds
Oxyfluorfen – possible carcinogen, reproductive, birth and development effects, kidney/liver damage, skin irritant, toxic to fish and aquatic organisms
Oryzalin – kidney/liver damage, skin irritant, birth and developmental effects, toxic to fish and aquatic organisms
Trifluralin – extremely toxic to fish and aquatic organisms
Also, since the active ingredient is usually only 1% ... what are the 99% "other ingredients" ? They are often a blend of equally toxic ingredients that amplify the deadly effectiveness, which means they are even more toxic for you too.
Safe alternative? Although corn-gluten is often recommended as an organic pre-emergent for lawns, it is expensive, and timing is too critical to be effective, so we don’t recommend it. The PRFCT nature-based approach to weed control is to outcompete weeds in lawns. Overseed lawns in the fall or early spring before weeds germinate. In shrub and flower beds plant many small plants close together, leaving little to no space or sun for weeds. More plants is always a better option for filling space than bark mulches from far away.
If a green lawn is a sign of health, then the first brightest, greenest lawn in the spring has to be good, right? If you knew that what it takes to make a lawn jump the season, you might think differently.
Nature has its own schedule, worked out over millenia. Greening up earlier than nature intends requires heavy doses of fast-acting nitrogen. Much of it ends up in runoff and pollutes your nearby beloved water bodies. Over-fertilization causes fast, weak growth, at the expense of deep, healthy roots. This chemical-fueled growth is more susceptible to fungal diseases and insect attacks, which means more chemicals will be needed later on to correct preventable issues. This is the beginning of a cycle of chemical dependence – your lawn on drugs.
Why do you need your lawn to be green before its time? Will you think differently? When you see early green lawns, will you give them the (green) thumbs down? Will you be proud that your lawn will not join the party until it is old enough to drink (natural nutrients) responsibly?
Your lawn is crying out for core aeration when the ground becomes compacted due to shade or heavily trafficked areas. Compaction can occur in a variety of places……where children play, on a footpath or in post-construction areas.
Compaction usually causes bare/worn looking patches in the lawn. The ground can feel hard underfoot.
Aeration is done with an aerating machine that removes soil plugs approximately 2-3 inches deep, allowing nutrients, air and water to penetrate down to the grass roots. The machine is hard to manage and is usually best handled by a professional.
The soil should be moist to begin.
Mark the irrigation system so it isn’t punctured.
Directly after aerating, spread seed and compost (or compost tea).
The plugs will dry and return to the soil. If you are in a rush, they can be raked in.
The best time for aeration is NOW -- Fall --to get the best root regrowth and seed germination.
Ahh, that felt good!
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June 19-25 is National Pollinator Week. Why all the buzz?
• Bees pollinate 75% of the fruit, nuts, and vegetables grown in the United States.
• Native bees are responsible for pollinating many plants endemic to the Americas, including tomatoes and eggplant.
• Over 4,000 species of bees are native to the United States. Honeybees are not—they were brought to the Americas by European settlers.
Is your yard pollinator friendly? Here’s how it can be:
• Do not apply broadcast sprays for mosquitos and ticks, especially synthetic products. Broadcast sprays kill all insects, not just pests. Even organic sprays can be toxic to bees and butterflies.
• If you plan on having an event or are especially concerned about ticks or mosquitos, apply a plant-based essential oil-based spray using a pressurized pump sprayer with a long arm that can get into small spaces. Only spray in early morning or evening when pollinators are less active.
• Plant native plants to support native insect populations. Many insects are dependent on specific plants for shelter and food (think monarchs and milkweed), and many native crops (think tomatoes and eggplants) are dependent on native insects for pollination.
• Plant host plants, not just flowers. Before you can have a garden full of butterflies, you need to provide a food source for their caterpillars. Keep in mind that these plants will get munched, but you might not even notice the damage.
• Pollinators get dehydrated, so provide a water source for your bees and butterflies. To prevent your bug bath from becoming a mosquito breeding ground, change the water frequently.
Photo credit: Indra Widi / EyeEm / Getty Images