Sunday, July 27, 2008


One of the new battlegrounds shaping up between neighbours is going to be regarding the use of lawn and garden pesticides. I will admit to not exactly having an '100% organic' lawn, but I am not exactly chemical dependant either.

I fertilize in the spring with Scott's Turf Builder Pro with Weed Control. This single application keeps my lawn dandelion free for the season. I hit the lawn at one point during late spring or early summer with Scott's Killex, mostly just to spot treat any crabcrass or broadleaf weed outbreaks. Then in the fall I use a single treatment of Scott's Wintercare.

I use some MiracleGro on my annuals located in flower boxes on the front porch but that really sums it up. None of these products I use on my backyard, only the front and side. The back garden is fenced in and with a big stinky dog, two crazy kids, a swing set, a patio, a sandbox, and a kiddie pool... you get the picture.

Since the backyard is also the location of our fresh herb garden and vegetable garden (limited this year to about 6 varieties of heirloom tomatoes we ordered from Vesey's) I don't use any products of any kind.

So I would think I am pretty typical when it comes to lawn and garden pesticide use. My lawn is no golf course but at the same time is healthy and mostly weed free. It smells like a lawn, not like the lawns you sometimes walk past that smell more like the chemical aisle at the Home Depot. It is by no means uniform in thickness, colour, etc., but it feels good under your bare feet and that to me is pretty much the most important thing.

I have a neighbour who has taken Eco Living to new heights. A huge renovation of his 1950's era ranch have been recently completed and frankly the house is gorgeous. I could probably devote an entire post to his home but lets just say he has the latest in high tech everything and the house can now be run year-round on total utility costs of roughly $100/month. This includes winter heating and summer cooling costs. It is a pretty amazing house.

This neighbour decided to get rid of his lawn and plant White Dutch Clover. He raved about this for weeks. About how from a distance it will look just like a lawn. How it will never need to be cut. How it will always be green with little to no watering. So he hired contractors who came and scraped off the existing turf. Then they added a layer of top soil and hydro-sprayed the clover. Then he forgot to water...

Once established the clover doesn't really need water, but as anybody who has seeded a lawn knows, the first couple weeks are critical. Those seeds cannot dry out and need to be watered daily.

So nothing grew... except of course weeds. Now of course a single treatment of Killex would have been fine but my neighbour was insistant on being 'green' so he was out there every day for weeks hand spraying agricultural vinegar on the weeds. Now I read up on this stuff, and with a warning that read "keep away from children, wear gloves. eye protection, and a respirator" I have a funny feeling that Killex is probably safer. One thing I've learned about the 'Green Revolution' is that perception is more important then reality.

After two weeks of daily vinegar treatments the weeds were held at bay, so a fresh layer of topsoil was delivered last week, and I believe re-seeding will be attempted again soon. I wish him the best.

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