April 25 (Reuters) – Heavy use of the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup, could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers, according to a new study. Click for More . . .
A recently release federal study day attributes the massive die-off in American honey bee colonies to a combination of factors, including pesticides, poor diet, parasites and a lack of genetic diversity. The problems affect pollination of American agricultural products worth tens of billions of dollars a year. Click for more . . .
To many reading this blog this news is not surprising:
As food allergies become increasingly common, a new study offers the first proof that they may be linked to pesticides found in tap water. Click To Read More
Scotts Miracle-Gro Will Pay $12.5 Million in Criminal Fines and Civil Penalties for Violations of Federal Pesticide LawsSeptember 21st, 2012
Scotts pleaded guilty in February 2012 to illegally applying insecticides to its wild bird food products that are toxic to birds, falsifying pesticide registration documents, distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels and distributing unregistered pesticides. To Read More . . .
It’s not too soon to start over-seeding. In fact if you’re looking to over-seed with Kentucky Bluegrass now is a great time to get started. Kentucky Bluegrass can take up to 28 days to germinate so seeding now will allow sufficient time for it to get established.
There are a couple of options for approaches to over-seeding: seed slice or aerate. I favor aerating and broadcasting the seed at a slightly higher rate. This is especially effective if you top-dress with some pelleted compost after. While seed slicing helps ensure seed to soil contact, aerating and broadcasting seed are significant time savers that far outweigh the cost of the additional seed you may put down.
If you aerate it is also a great time to fertilizer and lime to take advantage of getting much of the material immediately down in the root zone.
The New York Times and the Boston Globe report today that the U.S. after 4 decades is moving to address the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. “Forty years after the United States stopped spraying herbicides in the jungles of Southeast Asia in the hopes of denying cover to Vietcong fighters and North Vietnamese troops, an air base here is one of about two dozen former American sites that remain polluted with an especially toxic strain of dioxin, the chemical contaminant in Agent Orange that has been linked to cancers, birth defects and other diseases.”
Different mixes of herbicides were used, but most were mixtures of 2 chemicals that were phenoxy herbicides:
- 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)
- 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T)
What many fail to realize is that 2,4-D is a common broadleaf herbicide found in many lawn and garden weed & feed products.
For more background information on Agent Orange click on the following by the American Cancer Society.
Imagine two boxes of soil each weighing 100 pounds. The first box contains a soil that is 2% organic matter and the second box contains a soil that is 4.5% organic matter. The boxes are completely air-dried. How much water could we pour in each of the boxes before the water would run out? A test showed that approximately 45 pounds of water could be added to the 2% organic matter soil box, but almost 150 pounds of water could be added to the 4.5% organic matter soil box before the water started to run out. It is important to realize that the relationship of the water holding capacity to organic matter content is not linear but logarithmic. A small increase in organic matter can have a huge increase in water-holding capacity, as well as an increase in the nutrient holding capacity.
from The Art of Balancing Soil Nutrients by William McKibben
Here are some good tips from UMass –
Responsible irrigation is the rule. This is a great time to assess the performance of irrigation systems, as the turf will quickly tell the story of any issues with coverage or output. When circumstances permit, however, dormancy of well-established and otherwise healthy turf can lead to savings of time, labor and management resources if approached properly. If dormancy is allowable, remember these important points for managing dormant turf:
• If you opt for dormancy, commit to it. Avoid irrigation unless adequate and consistent evapotranspiration (ET) replacement can be achieved. Irregular and insufficient irrigation during dormancy can actually further deplete valuable carbohydrate reserves and negatively impact later recovery. If dormancy persists for an extended period (perhaps 45+ days depending on turf species, soil, etc), however, reduced recovery can be expected.
• Restrict traffic on dormant turf to the lowest possible level. The turfgrass shoots that die back when dormancy progresses are not able to adequately cushion and protect the critical meristems that will ultimately facilitate re-growth and recovery.
• Mow only when absolutely necessary. If a mowing event is needed, avoid mowing during the hottest part of the day (this benefits the turf as well as the operator).
For full UMass article, visit: http://extension.umass.edu/turfmanagement-updates/dry-conditions-turf-dormancy
From an 1872 speech by John James Ingalls, Kansas senator from 1873 – 1891:
One grass differs from another in glory. One is vulgar and another patrician. There are grades in its vegetable nobility. Some varieties are useful. Some are beautiful. Others combine utility and ornament. The sour, reedy herbage of swamps is baseborn. Timothy is a valuable servant. Redtop and cover are a degree higher in the social scale. But the king of them all, with genuine blood royal, is bluegrass. Why is it called blue, save that it is more vividly and intensely green is inexplicable, but had its unknown priest baptized it with all the hues of the prism, he would not have changed its hereditary title to imperial superiority over all its humbler kin. . .
The primary form of food is grass. Grass feeds the ox: the ox nourishes man: man dies and goes to grass again; and so the tide of life with everlasting repetition, in continuous circles, moves endlessly on and upward, and in more senses than one, all flesh is grass. But all flesh is not bluegrass. If it were, the devil’s occupation would be gone.
Taken from Grass the Forgiveness of Nature by Charles Walters
In case you needed more reasons for good clean dirt here’s a recent NY Times Op-Ed piece. Increasing evidence suggests that the alarming rise in allergic and autoimmune disorders during the past few decades is at least partly attributable to our lack of exposure to microorganisms that once covered our food and us.