A home surrounded by greenery is a beautiful thing. Picture a lovely flower garden with a flagstone path in the middle leading to the front porch—perfect for relaxing and people-watching. Or a sprawling backyard dotted with fruit trees and a well-manicured lawn.
Both are lovely to look at and evoke a sense of serenity. However, there’s danger lurking beneath such aesthetically pleasing facades.
The use of chemical fertilizers and harmful pesticides is known to be prolific in the agriculture industry. Most people don’t realize that the same practice is widespread in the lawn care industry too.
In a fact sheet released by Beyond Pesticides, a non-profit organization working with allies to eliminate pesticide use worldwide, 88 million US households use pesticides in and around their homes. The same fact sheet also noted that “suburban lawns and gardens receive more pesticide applications per acre (3.2 to 9.8 lb) than agriculture (2.7 lb per acre on average).”
The use of synthetic pesticides poses various risks on people, plants, animals, wildlife—really nature as a whole. The chemicals used in lawn care treatments enter the human body through the eyes or skin. They can also be inhaled. Pets and wild animals can ingest grass, and the chemicals can also seep into the soil.
In particular, pesticides have been implicated in human studies of certain cancers, like leukemia and lymphoma. It has also been known to contribute to reproductive harm, such as congenital disabilities in babies, sterility, and infertility.
As for animals, pesticides can disrupt their hormones, affecting their behavior and ability to produce. Some persistent pesticides can build up in animals’ bodies. Insects, the natural enemies of pests, can also be killed by pesticides.
Meanwhile, a study conducted by the North Dakota University Nutrients found that chemical fertilizers contribute to environmental pollution through excess phosphorus and nitrogen runoff or soil erosion. These contaminate lakes, wetlands, and streams.
In addition, erosion carries fine particles of soil that are enriched with nutrients. Eroded soil particles with attached nutrients will accumulate as sediment in water resources and serve as a source of available nutrients during long periods.
Why Switch to Organic Lawn Care?
Caring for your lawn using natural methods is a great way to avoid harming yourself, your family, and your pets. It’s also great for the environment. Here are some specific benefits.
It puts nutrients back in the soil and develops a healthy root system
Organic fertilizer actually feeds the microorganisms that are living parts of your lawn. It also creates the best possible environment for plants and flowers to thrive in.
An organically-fed lawn is not dependent on synthetic chemicals, so it can grow more naturally and become more resilient. A lawn with a deep and healthy root system can withstand a drought year or an unusual pest infestation a lot better.
Safer for children, pets, and the environment
Eliminating the use of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides, which are all toxic on some level, protects children from inhaling harmful fumes and animals from ingesting contaminated grass or leaves.
Of course, anything you apply to your lawn will impact the overall environment in your area. Unless you use a protective device like a backflow preventer for sprinkler systems, it could leech into the local groundwater.
Sustains the overall health of the lawn
Organic lawn care is comparable to a healthy diet for humans. You can get vitamins and nutrients from processed food products, but fruits and vegetables are still the best sources out there. Just like human food, lawn food comes in varying degrees of nutrition, and organic lawn care provides the best lawn “nutrition” of all.
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are widely used in lawns all over the United States. The dangers of chemical lawn care on people, animals, and the environment are well-documented. Switching to natural lawn care methods safeguards the health of children and pets, improves soil quality, and reduces pollution caused by excessive amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen.
Think about those rose bushes in your garden and the climbing hydrangeas above the solar post lights on your porch. Wouldn’t you sleep better at night knowing you won’t suffer from adverse health effects later on because you tended to them naturally?