Except for our friends in southern latitudes, most of us haven’t seen much green in a while. Fortunately, we’ll all be welcoming spring soon and all the renewed life it brings. It’ a time when many homeowners take on the task of beautifying their yards for the summer season. For many that includes a ‘weed and feed’ program for the lawn. While we all appreciate lush green grass, we may want to consider the costs of having that picture-perfect yard.
Homeowners or lawn care professionals can do weed and feed. It involves applying herbicides to kill broadleaf plants like dandelions and fertilizer to promote the growth of grass. Often pesticides are also applied to kill insects. The downside of this process is that the chemicals used can be harmful to people, pets and wildlife.
Many of the chemicals used are linked to neurological, immunity, and reproductive problems as well as cancer in people and pets. Children are the most susceptible to the effects of these chemicals and are most likely to contact them when they play on the grass. One study found that a week after lawn treatment herbicides and pesticides could be detected on indoor surfaces such as tabletops and windowsills.
Pesticides kill not only nuisance insects, but those insects people usually like having around like butterflies. Pollinators such as bees are affected too. Commonly used fertilizer granules are known to be eaten by birds with fatal consequences. Nitrogen in fertilizer can make its way to bodies of water causing algae blooms.
Certainly, homeowners wouldn’t knowingly cause these harmful effects. We all want a safe yard for our families and pets. There are safe alternatives that can help create that nice looking lawn. In my next blog, I will describe some of the options which get the job done without the unintended consequences. Little changes can help us have a safer and healthier environment so we can all enjoy the warm, green outdoor season!