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Getting your yard off pesticides

Posted August 2, 2009
Updated August 3, 2009

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— Morrisville homeowners Rich and Donna Caira said they have abandoned chemicals and gone all-organic with their lawn care.

"You can breathe better,” Donna Caira said. “There's not that lingering odor that permeates the air."

The couple's dog was the reason they turned to an all-organic lawn care service. They said they didn't want to worry about dangerous pesticides when Duffy was playing on the grass.

Organic products can 'green' your lawn Organic products can 'green' your lawn

"Organic lawn care is a holistic approach to lawn care. We're trying to bring life back to the soil," said Scott Walker, owner of Pleasant Green Grass.

Walker said chemicals harm the soil.

"You're setting up situations where disease and weeds are going to come in and attack that out-of-balance system,” he added.

However, going organic might not be suitable for everyone.

"Often times, when people say they're going organic, our first comment is that you may have to reduce your standards,” said Dr. Grady Miller, a turfgrass scientist with North Carolina State University.

Homeowner Rich Caira's said his first concern was whether the greener option would be as effective.

"Initially, I was not too convinced that it would work,” Caira said. “I have to say that I think the lawn looks really good, so it works."

Miller said organic methods work better on smaller lawns and that more complex situations might call for synthetic solutions. However, he said, that is not necessarily a cause for concern.

"I think today our products are much safer, so it's not as much of an issue as it was many years ago,” Miller said.

N.C. State's Turfgrass Center has an online guide to organic lawn care.

62 Comments

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  • educated southerner Aug 3, 2009

    It is evident from some of these posts that a lot of you are backyard farmers. Fact of the matter, you can't afford the labor costs it would require to constantly maintain a large crop. You don't just plant, wait for it to rain and then harvest. That's the reason I quit tending so many produce crops. As far as homeowner insecticides and herbicides, they should require an applicators license. If I have to have a pesticide license and continuing education, anyone who uses them also.

  • ImaBee Aug 3, 2009

    "We need more smaller farms and more farmers. We have a lot of available land, and trust me, you don't need chemicals to grow large/lots of produce. I encourage anyone who has doubts about small/organic farms to actually visit one in the area and learn something."

    True doing an organic farm on a very small scale is easier but that means higher prices of the crops for the increased labor and not much profit for the farmers if there are several of them.

  • ImaBee Aug 3, 2009

    better yet try to get rid of all the insects that can eat a good portion of the field without using insecticides. Its not that easy.

  • vote4changeASAP Aug 3, 2009

    There are two ways to control weeds and grass out of fields of produce. 1)a hoe 2)herbicides

    Sorry, but the average American could not afford to eat the food grown without herbicides.

  • vote4changeASAP Aug 3, 2009

    UNC, I prefer my water from the tap.

  • ks70292 Aug 3, 2009

    I know that the article is about lawns, but there are some serious misconceptions about farming in these comments. Let me preface this by saying that the actual labeling of "organic" is over-rated - get to know the person who you're getting your food from and ask them what they do to their crops. Go to the farmers markets or stop by a farm that you pass on the way to work. Organics are more than about health of the consumers - its also about maintaining the land so that our kids and their kids will be able to grow food on it too. To those who say that we can't grow enough food if we do it organically, I don't believe that. Most of the farms that supply the large stores are far too big to be able to care for their land. We need more smaller farms and more farmers. We have a lot of available land, and trust me, you don't need chemicals to grow large/lots of produce. I encourage anyone who has doubts about small/organic farms to actually visit one in the area and learn something.

  • vote4changeASAP Aug 3, 2009

    Farmgirl, your skin absorbs toxic chemicals daily with or without your prevention. It's great that you are eating home grown veggies and producing your own dairy products. Nothing wrong with that. It's just that the organic thing is over rated and often places invalid information of farm products that are completely safe. I am a farmgirl myself and work with crop/livestock producers on a regular basis and have worked with integrated livestock companies and feed manufacturers.

  • vote4changeASAP Aug 3, 2009

    Organic grain?

    Then you know about balancing your calcium/phosphorus ratios so that your goats don't develop urinary calculi and cause intense pain and death. Better feed some hay or grass with that organic grain.

    (just picking on ya!)

  • Farmgirlnc Aug 3, 2009

    We're talking about HARMFUL CHEMICALS! Everyone knows there's chemicals in just about everything. Not all are bad though. Just like there's good and bad bacteria (you know the good bacteria you don't drink in your pasteurized milk) *rolling eyes*.

  • ImaBee Aug 3, 2009

    HaHa!!

    It is virtuously impossible to live in a world without added chemicals.

    How about some hand lotion?
    -----
    Better yet how about some high quality H2O

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