Spring is in the air, and with it comes yard work. But are the chemicals you are using to maintain that lush, green law hurting more than they are helping?
Sunday marks Earth Day and in celebration Salt Lake City is encouraging home owners to stay pesticide free.
City officials are raising awareness of the health and environmental risks os using fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Sophia Nicholas is the Communication Manager for the Sustainability Department of Salt Lake City. She joined us in studio Friday to talk about the alternatives to these products.
“The problem with many of these chemicals is that they do have health impacts, especially for our babies, kids, and pets who are out and about in our yards,” said Nicholas.
Nicholas says the well known weed killer Roundup has an ingredient called glyphosate that has been classified by the World Health Organization as a probably carcinogen.
” The more you use chemical inputs, the more dependent your grass and garden becomes on them. That’s a lot of chemicals we’re releasing into our community and environment,” she added.
Pesticides and herbicides impact bees, birds, and other creatures. Not only that, but Nicholas said some of the chemical fertilizers used run into the stormwater system.
“There are many organic options for fertilizing and providing nutrients to your landscape that don’t have the negative effects,” she said.
Nicholas said think of your yard as an ecosystem. When the soil is healthy, weeds are less likely to succeed.
10 tips for being pesticide free
- Improve soil health to facilitate healthy lawns and reduce weed growth by adding ¼ inch compost in early Spring and early Fall.
- Fertilize naturally by leaving grass clippings on lawn and mulching with leaves.
- Aerate your lawn to avoid compaction.
- Mow lawn to 3-4 inches high.
- Don’t over water your lawn and avoid watering during the heat of the day. Per week, an inch of water is needed in May/ September and 1.5 inches in the summer.
- Incorporate native plants in your landscape. Native plants are adapted to local conditions and aren’t easily outcompeted by unwanted plants.
- Use natural products like neem or peppermint oil as alternatives to chemical pesticides.
- Incorporate Integrated Pest Management practices.
- Declutter your yard and home to discourage pests
- Remove standing water & open food sources