What Is Safe Lawns in Door County?

That’s our goal! It is also the name of our recently formed, ever expanding partnership with individuals and organizations committed to the health and well being of our community.  At the June showing of the movie “A Chemical Reaction”  audience members were invited to leave contact information if they were interested in planning the “next steps”.  The response was great!  Our strategic planning group has meet several times and you can stay abreast of information and developments on the DPO website www.doorpropertyowners.org and going to the Safe Lawns in Door County tab.

A safe lawn is free of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. It can be safely enjoyed by children, adults, pets and pollinators.  Health concerns regarding respiratory or contact exposure to potentially harmful substances have been eliminated. Safe lawns also means healthy soils. Current lawn care practices involving pesticides and synthetic fertilizers have created grasses with shallow root systems for our “cosmetic” perfect lawns sitting on top of nutrient deprived soil. According to numerous studies by the Soil Food Web laboratory, soils treated with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides have 75 to 80 percent less microbial activity than soils managed in natural or organic programs and 50 percent less microbial activity than soils left unmanaged. This weakens the water filtering function of these lawns and allows more toxins to enter our ground water systems. 

We all have the right to go to public places without being exposed to unnecessary health risks. Contact exposure of people, especially children, to known toxic pesticides and herbicides has been linked to cancer and asthma (beyondpesticide.org Children and Pesticide Don’t Mix). Children are more susceptible to chemicals than adults because of there proximity to the lawn , in addition to taking in more pesticides relative to body weight and the vulnerability of developing organ systems that are less able to detoxify toxic chemicals. Similar to second hand smoke pesticide spay can and does drift, yet we continue to spray our sports fields which are often near schools.

In many cases, whether in private or public spaces, the goal of a weed free, insect free, green lawn is accomplished through the use of lawn pesticides and synthetic fertilizers because 1) that’s the way it’s always been done  2) I thought that was my only option  3) I haven’t really thought about it  or 4) I didn’t realize the potential harm. There are alternatives.  

What can you do?  If you have a lawn, examine your current lawn care practices? Stop using lawn pesticides and synthetic fertilizers if you haven’t done so already. Transition your lawn with the help of free tips and videos on the SafeLawns.org website. Encourage decision makers in your community to have safe lawns in all public spaces beginning with parks and sports fields.

There are safe lawns in our communities that are free of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. To the individuals, boards, and decision makers at all levels who have made this happen,  thank you!  These spaces need to become the rule and not the exception. If you or your  village, town, company, or organization are using pesticides and synthetic fertilizers on your lawns the question is why?  It is an unnecessary, unhealthy, costly and unsustainable practice that could easily be stopped and replaced with organic lawn care options. Please do whatever you can for the health and well being of our community by creating safe lawns throughout Door County!