Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lawn Care: To Treat or Not To Treat, That Is The Question?

Recently I heard a knock at my front door and when I answered the door the conversation went like this.

guy dressed in a uniform: "Hello ma'am, I am working in the neighborhood and I thought I would stop by and give you information about my company. I can help you with this clover patch in your front yard."

me: (I immediately recognize the uniform, they have stopped at my house many times before) "Thank you for noticing my yard, but we don't treat our lawn.(obviously) I have kids and a dog(well, we had a dog, but he doesn't need to know that) and I don't want the harmful chemicals in our yard. I also don't want the harmful chemicals running off into the water basin."

guy dressed in a uniform: "Our products are completely safe. We treat the lawns of some local day cares. We just ask that you wait about 1-2 hours after an application before you walk or play in the yard. Did you know that clover attracts bees?"

me: "Why no I didn't know that, but we are not interested. Thank you anyways."

guy in uniform: "Thank you and have a good day."

The above conversation was very polite and the lawn man was courteous and took my "no thanks" well and went on the the next house with a disastrous yard. These guys have stopped by before. They no doubt are in the neighborhood treating lawns, I see the trucks quite a bit and many of our neighbors have beautiful lawns without a single clover or bee. I know that some of the neighbors do the lawn care themselves too.

As much as I would love a beautiful, lush lawn, we decline these promotional offers for several reasons:
  1. Like I told the guy in the uniform, we have kids and at one time a dog and I don't like the chemicals on the yard. My kids are outside playing all summer long, I have a hard time believing that the chemicals aren't harmful.
  2. Water run off. After a rain, the water runs off the treated yard, down the street and into the water pipes, and, in our case, eventually reaching the Chesapeake.
  3. Bees are good for my garden.
  4. As much as I would love a beautiful, lush lawn devoid of weeds, I am not willing to pay for it. Some of our neighbors try to save money by treating the lawn themselves with products that can be bought in a store, but, for me, also see #1 and #2.

Our approach to lawn care has been:

  1. My husband mows when the lawn needs mowed. With all of the rain we have had in the northeast this summer, he has mowed about once a week.
  2. He usually lets the grass clippings lay, although I have read that is not a good idea when your yard is pretty weedy, regardless the clippings remain on the ground.
  3. ...........ahhh that's it.

Good news about my clover mess, in my search on-line, apparently clover is not a weed and is actually good for your lawn, so THERE, mister guy in uniform!

Do you treat your lawn chemically, organically or not at all?

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  1. We actually do pay for someone to treat our yard, but it is a reasonable amount (I'm told). Personally, it is not a big deal to me, but I'm sure my neighbors appreciate it though :)

  2. We actually do pay for someone to treat our yard, but it is a reasonable amount (I'm told). Personally, I don't see what the big deal is, but I'm sure my neighbors appreciate it though :)

  3. LOL
    I am laughing as I was reading this.. why would someone not like bee's??? I mean.. you want flowers right? yea well you need bees. you want a veggie garden right? need bees..
    I cut our lawn.. and I know it is not perfect looking.. but I like it.
    sue in NJ

  4. When I read the first few sentences and he mentioned the clover, I thought, 'great, she's got clover to feed the bees' then I read on and screamed out loud!
    We raise bees and when I set a beehive at my parents home I asked them if they could go around to their neighbors letting them know they have bees and to reconsider spraying chemicals in their yards. My mom was apprehensive but when I told her the honey would contain any pesticide within her neighborhood she marched right out there. Her neighbors were not only cooperative but when she gave them a bit of information about the benefits of having a thriving beehive close to their gardens the thanked her!

  5. Roshawn - So far I haven't heard my neighbors complain about our yard. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Sue & Molly - I don't mind the bees. We have a garden, so I know how valuable they are :) Thanks for the comments.

  6. I totally agree! Beautiful lawns are overrated! I would rather my daughter play in an uglish lawn then a chemically saturated one! :)

  7. When I'm out walking the dogs, I hate to see those signs in the lawns saying that it was just treated. I swear my dogs always want to bee line for those lawns!

  8. We went chemical free a few years back and have been embracing the success of the clover. But... the dandelions... they are disturbing. Anyone got any suggestions? Is there a natural treatment that would work for that? My husband is getting so frustrated its hard to keep him away from the chemicals...

  9. OK - we've embraced the clover since going chemical free, but the dandelions are really pushing our limits of tolerance. Anyone got any natural solutions for battling the dandelions?


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