I often share and educate about the dangers of chemicals in products we use every day, from laundry soap to air fresheners. But how many us really stop to realize that a lush green lawn, might also be toxic to us and especially our dogs?
As “natural rearing breeders” we may be feeding our dogs a species specific raw diet and not vaccinating; we may have stopped using toxic chemical cleaning products in our home but what about our yards and gardens?
Lawns are beautiful and they even have some wonderful benefits:
Lawns absorb water, which helps reduce storm runoff and improve water quality. Lawns also have a significant cooling effect, provide oxygen, trap dust and dirt, promote healthful micro-organisms, prevent erosion and filter rainwater contaminants. And most importantly, lawns are where people and dogs can play outside the house.
However, conventional lawn and garden care has come at a high cost to our dog’s health, our health and the environment’s health.
According to the U.S. National Wildlife Federation:
- The average suburban lawn receives 10 times as much chemical pesticide per acre as farmland.
- Over 70 million tons of fertilizers and pesticides are applied to residential lawns and gardens annually. (Read Healthy lawns, healthy lungs)
- Where pesticides are used, 60 – 90% of earthworms are killed. Earthworms are important for soil health.
[box] “Contrary to what lawn “care” companies would like people to believe, herbicides (weed killers) and other pesticides are not “magic bullets”. They are broad spectrum biocides, and by their very nature can harm organisms other than targeted species. This includes homeowners and their families, neighbors, pets, and all other forms of life. The pesticide industry downplays this by claiming their chemicals are heavily diluted, but doesn’t mention the toxins are still extremely dangerous in small amounts”. ~ Unknown[/box]
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.
What can we do? Are there safe, natural alternatives?
Natural lawn and garden maintenance programs can achieve a healthy, pest-free landscape using the latest scientific developments in organic agriculture and horticulture. For example, corn gluten is a natural pre-emergent weed killer and fertilizer now available to home owners. Lawns can be enriched naturally by thin spreading of compost in the spring and fall. Also, natural lawn care practices will lead to a healthy vigorous lawn which resists pests and disease.
Naturally healthy soil = naturally healthy lawn and garden
Once the soil’s healthy, you will never have to deal with pesticides, herbicides, even fertilizers again and organically-cared-for lawns and gardens require less water than chemically treated ones, since the latter needs lots of moisture just to digest all the synthetic fertilizers and pesticides fed to them.
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Articles and blog posts written by Dr. Jeannie (Jeanette) Thomason may NOT be reprinted without express written permission and then must be printed in their entirety with a link back to the original article or post.