August 22nd, 2013
The following is an excerpt of an article that appeared on 8/19/13 in the on-line edition of Turf Magazine:
“The Takoma Park Safe Grow Act of 2013 is not a total ban on pesticide use on public and private properties. It applies only to lawns and not to gardens. It also permits the use of herbicides to kill invasive and noxious weeds, and also the use of insecticides to kill disease-carrying insects.
Local residents Julie Taddeo and Catherine Cummings drafted the ordinance. The two women began their anti-pesticide campaign in 2011 after seeing residents spray their yards to kill dandelions. Fearful that pesticides are harmful to their children and also the environment, they initially attempted to educate neighbors to quit using lawn care pesticides. Eventually, they launched a full-fledged campaign for a local law to forbid the use of most commonly used lawn care pesticides on public and private properties within their small city. The success of lawn care pesticide bans in Canada inspired them to keep campaigning for the ban.
The city will offer public educational materials (brochures, classes and public forums) to encourage compliance with the new restrictions on pesticides.”
August 20th, 2013
I first posted the following two paragraphs on August 14, 2009; the recommendation to address crabgrass by improving soil conditions through top-dressing and heavily over-seeding areas is supported by recently published research. A group of scientists from China headed by Chui-Hua Kong studying the effects of crabgrass on crop production found that crabgrass released three chemicals that act in an allelopathic way. Allelopathy occurs when one plant restricts the growth of another by releasing toxins. The chemicals were detected in crabgrass root exudates and the root zone soils. The chemicals significantly inhibited plant growth and reduced soil microbial biomass carbon. By top-dressing you increase carbon and encourage desirable microbial soil communities.
Part of the August 14, 2009 post:
As I drive around town I notice that the recent heat has brought out the crabgrass. What are you suppose to do especially if you want to have an organic all natural lawn. First I believe it best to understand a bit more about crabgrass. Crabgrass is an annual weed. It grows well in conditions that desirable grasses do not do well in, including: soils that are low in calcium, compacted and acidic. Since crabgrass needs warmer soil conditions; you will not find it in shady areas of your lawn. You will find it in sunny areas of the lawns; especially along walks and driveways where the radiant heat from the asphalt or brick helps warm the soil. These areas also tend to have poor soil conditions because of the stone pack found along the edges. Another favorite area for crabgrass is on top of the leach field for septic systems.
What to do about it now? The best thing is get ready to improve the soil conditions come fall (only a couple of weeks away). Top-dress and heavily over-seed these areas come early September. If your soil test results warrant it make certain that you lime. Also fall is the best time to aerate your lawn. All these activities will encourage a healthier stand of turf for next season. Remember to mow high throughout the season!
June 28th, 2013
The following is from Beyond Pesticides, www.beyondpesticdes.org:
“EPA is poised to raise the allowable limits of the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) in certain food commodities like carrots, sweet potato, and mustard seeds. Some of the allowable limits, or tolerances, will more than double! Increasing the levels of Roundup on food will pave the way for an overall increase in the use of this chemical in agriculture. The problem is Roundup is toxic to human and environmental health. In fact, a recent MIT study finds that glyphosate’s interference with important enzymes in the body can lead to gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Drinking water contaminated with Roundup can lead to congestion of the lungs and increased breathing rate, as well as kidney damage and reproductive effects.
Given that alternative methods of growing food and managing weeds are available, like those that exist in organic agriculture, it is unreasonable for EPA to increase human exposures to Roundup.
Tell EPA No More Roundup In Our Diet by July 1st!
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May 9th, 2013
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 . . .
May 9th, 2013
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 . . .
December 3rd, 2012
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
September 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 . . .
August 17th, 2012
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.
August 10th, 2012
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.
August 6th, 2012
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