Healthy lawns without pesticides

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: We wish to reaffirm our position calling for a comprehensive ban on cosmetic (lawn) pesticides in P.E.I..  Lawn care companies have been having a bonanza since the cosmetic pesticide  “ban” was enacted in 2010. They are able to legally apply a full range of synthetic pesticides, except 2-4D.

It is possible to maintain a healthy attractive lawn without the use of pesticides, but it takes some effort and may lower profits for those companies.

Methods such as dethatching and aeration followed by the application of compost and compost tea, followed by over seeding can give you a lush, thick lawn, depending on soil conditions.  Keeping the lawn mowed at 2 ½ to 3” will shade out most weed seeds and the grass will do better during droughts. A few weeds will not harm a lawn. In fact, a monoculture lawn artificially stimulated by synthetic fertilizers is much weaker and more susceptible to damage.

The pesticide industry continues to insist that there are no negative health or environmental effects to their chemicals. Should we trust them the way the tobacco industry was trusted in the past, or do we listen to doctors who are very concerned about what they are seeing in their practices? Let us heed these warnings much sooner than the 40 years it took to achieve smoke-free spaces.

There are health benefits to be had from edible weeds. If you dig up your dandelions now, before the flowers emerge, you can enjoy the greens in any recipe calling for cooked spinach. The roots can be roasted and added to herb teas or ground for a coffee substitute. An Internet search will provide a list of the many vitamins and minerals in dandelions, as well as hundreds of recipes. Dandelions also provide an important early source of pollen for bees.

To learn more about techniques for a healthy, pesticide-free lawn and how to cook with dandelions come to the Dandelion Festival on Monday May 19 at Stratford Town Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The schedule is available at peienvironmentalhealth.org under Upcoming Events.

Marion Copleston,

P.E.I. Environmental Health Co-op

Organizations: P.E.I. Environmental Health Co-op

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