Is your lawn safe enough for your kids to play on? If you do the “weed and feed” routine, it’s time to rethink.
Current lawn-culture encourages use of chemicals, with deceptive descriptions like “healthy lawn,” but don’t be fooled. Pesticides and fertilizers have many risks. Children are especially at risk of exposure which, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is linked to prenatal and childhood cancers, neurodevelopmental delays, and behavioral disorders. The Iowa Department Of Public Health recommends child care centers omit pesticides. There’s even a statewide public education campaign from University of Northern Iowa, called Good Neighbor Iowa. Check it out at goodneighboriowa.org.
Iowa City schools and city parks have no-spray policies for turf grass. The rare application of pesticide is reserved for dangerous plants like poison ivy. Isn’t it nice to know the colorful mix of grass with violets, clover and dandelions means a safe place for kid to play?
People are realizing the many benefits of diverse lawns. They protect water quality. They provide pollinator habitat for the bees, butterflies and insects we need. Even our pets are healthier without pesticide exposure.
Natural lawn care is as easy as it was for your parents and grandparents. First, omit chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Mow it high and let it lie. Over-seed bare spots. Finally, count the time and money you saved. Be glad you’ve made a difference. It’s a positive impact on your neighborhood.