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Healthy Lawns without Pesticides

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

The statistics can be frightening. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 78 million American households regularly employ the use of pesticides in the home and garden area. While half that many include some use of organic, pesticide-free lawn care alternatives along with routine use of toxic chemicals, only 5 million of us use only safe, natural products. When you consider that studies of the 30 commonly used lawn pesticide products have revealed carcinogens and contributors to birth defects, kidney and liver damage, you'd think more Americans would look into alternatives.

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According to Beyond Pesticides (formerly the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides), synthetic pesticides may not only contribute to potential toxic side effects in humans and animals, they also can disrupt the natural cycles of nutrient uptake from the soil to the lawn, killing beneficial organisms, building up thatch, and fostering pests.

Natural Weed Prevention and Your Lawn Care Regimen
Weed growth can be aided and abetted by soil compaction, dense thatch, poor drainage, improper mowing and watering cycles, along with out-of-balance soil pH. When the lawn receives less than optimal care, it typically loses out the struggle between all living organisms competing for minimal nutrients in the soils. The net result: weeds.

Organic, slow-release fertilizers and pre-season conditioners may provide the best non-toxic alternative to restoring leached out nutrients in the soil. Worm-casting tea and organic compost solutions are one natural way to restore healthy levels of nitrogen. If you're planning on having your soil tested, a reading of 6.5-7.0 means you have the proper pH in which most grasses should thrive.  Consider aerating if you can't push a pencil or screwdriver into the soil easily. Poor drainage conditions breed weeds and kill grasses.


About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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