Lawn Chemicals are Problematic – and Archaic
Scientific studies have linked turf chemicals with cancer, birth defects, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, liver and kidney damage, and endocrine system damage.*
One of the main goals we have at Sacred Space Gardens is stopping the use of synthetic lawn fertilizers. Most people spread them in excess – in particular, homeowners, who broadcast ten times more pesticides and herbicides than farmers per acre just in their yards – to the tune of 3 million tons a year.* This is all happening – unnecessarily – thanks to an outdated aesthetic human preference. Here are a few reasons why that’s a problem.
Gasses lead to rising temps
For every 1 part of nitrogen that we produce to make these chemicals conveniently available at the store, 4-5 parts of carbon are released into the atmosphere, aiding in temperature increase associated with climate change. It’s not even possible for the amount of nitrogen that gets applied to get absorbed by our lawns, so other plants – including microorganisms – soak it up and release nitrous oxide gas in the process – a gas that is 300 times more heat-trapping than carbon dioxide.
We’re threatening our water systems
Turf fertilizers are designed to feed grass, which sounds like a good thing on its face, but the consequence is that all those nutrients (mainly nitrogen, phosphorus, and in some cases, potassium) feed more than just lawns. Once they get into the water, they feed algae, too. This leads to reduced oxygen levels in our water and threatens aquatic life. This interruption to natural species harmony leads to aquatic dead zones. Threatened water for others = threatened water and reduction in food sources for us.
We’re threatening ourselves
In addition to the threat that these chemicals pose to other living things, they are highly toxic to children, as their digestive, immune and nervous systems are still developing. As to the general population as a whole, scientific studies have linked turf chemicals with cancer, birth defects, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, liver and kidney damage, and endocrine system damage.*
Give me a good reason to use them
Therefore, it seems that the query has shifted from “why not use them” to “why should I use them?!” The main reason people use this stuff at all is to have a “perfect” green lawn, but things are different now. We have a responsibility to be stewards of our environment. Sacred Space Gardens makes this possible by installing and maintaining thoughtfully designed and curated native and pollinator gardens without the use of chemicals for maintenance. Our Main source of fertilizer is organic compost and it works wonderfully.
Concepts of beauty change over time and according to cultural influence – they reflect what’s important to the people. We humans are seeing the effects our behaviors are having on the environment and beginning to redefine that which signals beauty in outdoor growing. There is a growing movement toward naturalized spaces in place of heavily manicured landscaping. People are opting to plant bee lawns, researching and sourcing native plants, and turning to organic feeding systems – looks like protecting our Earth is in vogue.*
Let us know how we can help you make your space safer and friendlier for both ourselves and the Earth that we share.
Sacred Space Gardens Administrator, Writer and Master Gardener