Most of us unwittingly have a chemical lawn. When 2 people work in the family, the last thing they want to do is take care of their lawn. They hire a gardener.  They want to know how much it will cost and they want the gardener to provide them with beautiful green grass.  The gardener comes each week to cut the grass and edge the beds. With gas driven lawn mowers he will cut the turf.  With a gas driven electric trimmer he will trim some overgrown bushes and with a gas driven power blower he will clean up the mess. He makes money by coming in as quick as he can and by getting out as quick as he can. It has become a very lucrative business and there are extras that can always be added on to the monthly bill.


The way the gardener views things are: Chemical fertilizers are the cheapest ones to buy. Organic fertilizers are way too expensive. Insects, weeds, and disease problems can be controlled with easy to use chemical products. The customer realizes the problem when his lawn looks poorly and is willing to pay for the cures that will make his lawn beautiful again. The job of the gardener is to make sure their customers have a green lawn. This is a fake perception of what we as homeowners should be looking for when we hire a gardener.


We have responsibilities to ourselves, our children, our pets and the environment.   There is more to achieving a good lawn than just having the grass cut. There is a greater role the lawn should play for you and your family. I am an environmentalist and a horticulturist. I have written “12 Steps to Natural Gardening” and am now working on my next book  “12 Steps To Reverse Global Warming”. My object in my emails is to educate you to the workings of Nature and how we can be a part of the organic solution. If we follow Nature’s ways, we will be following the right way


In order to understand the problems of owning a chemical lawn and the lethal consequences it produces, we need to understand the differences.

A chemical lawn uses chemical fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers are pyro chemicals developed after World War II. These were chemicals that were used in bomb factories to fight the war.  The Agricultural Department backed the large chemical companies to use up these chemicals and to promote cheap chemical fertilizers to grow our food. The Agricultural Department said we could solve the world food shortage problem. The chemical companies became very rich and became embedded in almost every Land Grant Agricultural Universities recommendations.


They embedded their influences into these Universities by offering grants to professors who tested which chemical formulations worked best for different crops. The professors were heralded for their great discoveries; the chemical companies capitalized on these findings and produced chemical formula fertilizers that according to their research would grow faster crops.  The farmers used these fertilizers to raise their crops. The formulas worked great but created more problems that required the invention of more chemical products to cure the insect and disease problems that occurred in the weakened plants immune system. The chemical companies got richer as the problems became greater. Our lawn programs are a byproduct of the Department of Agriculture’s approach to the way Agricultural was taught.


When I was at Cornell, Professor Cornman would take us out to the turf plots and show us how much better the grass had grown under a high nitrogen fertilizer compared to a high phosphate fertilizer. The Lawn fertilizer market continued to change to higher nitrogen fertilizers and lower phosphate fertilizers as a result.  High Nitrogen chemical fertilizers release nitrogen Oxide into the atmosphere a greenhouse pollutant that can last in the atmosphere for up to 120 years and after methane and CO2 is the most dangerous gas in trapping heat and contributing to global warming. Companies like Scotts promoted 4 step programs to grow a beautiful lawn and if you followed these programs, the retailer made lots of money and the home owner ended up with a beautiful lawn.

The toxic material that was applied to the lawn contaminated the soil and has created numerous health problems for our children, pets, ourselves and the environment. So the companies selling these products got richer and bigger and our country got sicker. More money made meant more money pumped into advertisement. Advertisement convinced home owners  how to grow a beautiful lawn. Understanding this you can begin to understand the dilemma our country and our environment is facing.


I was a runner and for 4 ½ years I never missed a day until I broke my ankle. Early one morning on a very humid day after a morning rain I started out on my run. I ran through the ABC streets in a very affluent neighborhood with beautiful lawns. I was almost overcome with the toxic fumes evaporating out of the soil. I will never forget that day of how a whole street could be filled with toxic lawns that evaporated toxic fumes.   I couldn’t wait to leave these streets and head for a wooded trail.


When you decide to follow an organic lawn program, it is perceived to be more difficult. The great value when you decide to follow an organic lawn program, is that you not only do not contribute to global warming but  instead contribute to the solution of global warming by growing organic turf that pulls CO2 out of the atmosphere by the photosynthetic process. By making simple changes we can make a difference and help in the fight to reduce global warming.  Education is important and it is up to our schools and colleges to teach Mother Nature’s ways. Chemical lawn programs are dangerous for you, your family, your pets and the environment.  Many health problems too numerous to list here have been associated with chemical lawns. Go to the internet for a complete list. We need to understand what the organic revolution is all about.  We need to understand why Nature’s way is the right way.\


Chemical fertilizers are water soluble and not only do they pollute our air but they pollute our bodies of water.  Nitrogen can cause nitrates which in over abundance can cause methemoglobinemia or “blue baby syndrome” a condition that starves infants of oxygen  and can lead to coma and even death. Phosphorus fertilizers can cause eutrophication or oxygen depletion. This is the process that causes dead zones in the oceans, fresh water, ponds and lakes. The fertilizers stimulate the growth of algae that consumes the oxygen that is needed by fish and other aquatic life.


Organic fertilizers do not feed the plant directly but go through an organic process where the organic products in the fertilizer are broken down by the microbes in the soil and they in turn form sym   biotic relationships with the plant that release the nutrients directly  to the roots of the plant. In this way Nature does not pollute the environment. There is a very balanced system in Nature that makes everything work. When we disrupt this system, we cause problems.


The organic lawn for many reasons is the right lawn for you to own.  September has always been the beginning of the lawn season for me.  It is the time of the year to start over and build a new lawn or to renovate an old one. The criteria for making the right decision is to examine your soil. To grow a good lawn you need a good soil. Heavy clay soils or sandy soils need organic soil amendments to build up a healthy food web and to allow deep root growth to take place. In the case of a heavy clay soil you need to prep your soil, rent a Rototiller, add the proper soil amendments and build a new lawn. Follow the guide lines in my book ’12 Steps to Natural Gardening’, page 149 and follow the formula for building a new lawn. If your soil has already been prepped and is of good structure but has become run down, follow the formula for renovating an existing lawn. In either case the end of August or early September is the right time to do this.


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