Lawns- An Unhealthy Obsession?
We love our green lawns, don’t we? In the US, we have over 63,000 square miles of lawn. That’s about the size of Texas! We spend more than $40 billion each year on lawncare in North America. We take pride in a green, manicured lawn. It’s sometimes a requirement to keep your grass green depending on Homeowners Association rules. But what if this obsession was doing harm to our families and pets? What if it’s causing some severe environmental problems in our lakes and rivers? Should we continue to fertilize our lawns with synthetic nitrogen? Are there any alternatives if I want to keep up a healthy green yard? Keep reading to learn more.
Are We Bringing Toxins into the Home?
Probably the biggest reason you should ditch your chemical lawn is the unhealthy toxins. To delay the release of fertilizer, manufacturers add things like formaldehyde and synthetic polymers. These polymers are suspected endocrine disruptors. So, they might cause hormonal problems in humans. We don’t really know. And sure, the chemicals are all going outside the home. I get that. But how many times do your kids play barefoot outside? What about the dog and the cat? On top of that, you’re probably tracking that stuff into the house on your shoes. Makes you think twice about that green lawn, huh?
What’s Happening to our Lakes and Rivers?
In addition to the possible health risks, our addiction to lawns has harmed our waterways. All the nitrates from chemical lawns runs downhill. It eventually finds its way into lakes, rivers, and streams. This causes algae blooms and reproductive health problems for fish and other aquatic species. In fact, there’s an area in the Gulf of Mexico referred to as the “dead zone”. It’s an area where chemical fertilizer pollution has caused a massive die-off of fish and other species. At one point this area was larger than the state of Connecticut!
How Can I Keep My Lawn and Avoid Toxins?
Remember how I mentioned that there are alternatives? You can keep your healthy green turf while avoiding toxic byproducts. Just switch to organic lawncare products. You’ll avoid the chemicals and you might actually have a healthier lawn. There are even some possible cost savings from switching to organic lawncare. Yes, I said cost savings! Sometimes we hear organic and immediately think “expensive”. But that’s not always the case. If you build up healthy soil, your grass has access to more of the minerals that are already present. This can save you money on both fertilizer and water in the long-run. So, consider making this small change for both your health and for the environment. You’ll be glad you did!