Pesticide Information and Tips

Information from Grass Roots members.

September 20, 2003

Subject: toxic lawns
From: "Paul Ryan" <>

Hi -

My name is Paul Ryan - I live in the Milwaukee area and I cannot happen to make it to your meeting (I will be out of the country) but I sympathize with your efforts to reduce pesticide use in care of our landscapes.

I feel the need to point out that perhaps we all would do better to consider that it is the choice of plants that we are making that leads us into this water-intensive, pesticide-intensive, and fossil-fuel machine-intensive maintenance regimes. In just about every case, it is the care of non-native, introduced species that require this sort of upkeep. (Or, more justifiably perhaps, it is for the extirpation of these and other invasive exotic species that have infiltrated our native plant community remnants and natural areas.)

Specifically, I will single out lawns. Lawns, besides providing effectively zero habitat for any [native] animal species, this monoculture we seem to almost dogmatically accept as the "only" landscape solution for open areas is perhaps the single most chemical dependent element of all. (Not to mention the human allergies that are aggravated by the airborne pollens from these non-native turf-grasses.)

I propose we do away with lawns altogether wherever possible - and nurture instead a diversity of locally and regionally appropriate native companion species. This is prevention of the need for pesticides. By developing these interdependent networks of plant and animal communities, be can begin to restore a piece of what has been lost to these alien invaders. Who's the real enemy? Lawns, I say! Get rid of the large-scale, cosmopolitan distribution network of non-native turf-grass monocultures (lawns) and we will be taking a significant step towards the reduction of our reliance on these poisons for their maintenance. Work with nature instead of against her!

There is much more to this, of course - I just wanted to introduce this fundamental notion into the debate. I hope it gets the consideration it merits. I believe it is quite seriously the root of our problems.

Thank you!

Paul Ryan - (owner, Northern Lights Natural Landscaping)

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