Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just Say No to TruGreen or Other Non Organic Lawn Services

This is my organic lawn which has the occasional "weed".
Do I really need to spray the whole acre to get rid of that one weed?
What is a weed? Do they HAVE to go away? Why?
Here it is, mid-January and I have just received my first lawn solicitation from a lawn "care" company. It is amazing actually, they may have even beat TruGreen's (formerly known as Chem-Lawn) pricing. For the low price of $115 per application, I can have my entire huge acre of lawn sprayed to keep it green and weed free. The problem here is this comes with a HUGE price for me and my family and any other living thing that may come over to visit. If I go with a company like this I will be spraying toxic liquid all over my yard and have poison granules spread that we will walk on and carry into our house. This will make my lawn very, very green and insect and dandelion free. The problem with me is, I LIKE the dandelions and insects. If I have a few dandelions, my kids can pick them and make bouquets. Bees will come visit my dandelions and pollenate my vegetables. Beneficial insects like ladybugs will come and eat the aphids off my garden flowers so I won't have to spray those either. Birds will come to the lawn and pluck out the grubs and other pests. There is no need to poison yourself for the sake of a carpet like green lawn. If you are covered in dandelions, this really means something is off with your soil and no amount of spray or spreading of granules is going to fix it. Weeds are a sign of a soil problem. Dandelions mean your calcium is low and the pH is off. Crabgrass means your soil is compacted and could use an aeration and overseeding in the fall. There is a cultural or organic solution to every lawn problem. What to do and where to start? Take a soil test and find out what your soil is asking you for. Ask for organic recommendations with the results. And if you really, really, REALLY look at the weeds, are they really so bad? The vase of flowers below is a vase of my lawn "weeds." I rather like them actually.

Flowers my kids picked for me from the lawn.
Who decided to convince us these are weeds???
The pink one is clover which bees love and bunnies eat!
As more of these solicitations arrive in your inbox, please think very hard about hiring one of these guys to come do your lawn. And don't be fooled by the bagged 4 step products from the big-box stores either--you'll just slowly poison yourself while applying. Or quickly if you overapply! (I used to do that-more is better right?)
I am realizing now I do not even need such an expanse of lawn. What I need and really, really, really want is a low maintenance (once a year mow/never fertilize), sustainable flowery meadow my kids and I can explore. I can mow paths through it and we can find cool bugs, watch butterflies and pick pretty flowers. Where is it written we need to have such large expanses of green lawn? Why is this the norm? I want a lawn, just not so much of it. So I will toss the $115 estimate to poison my yard into the recycling bin and hope many, many people do the same. And for the rest of winter I will dream of and figure out how to plant my beautiful meadow.


Really research what you are applying to the lawn. Pesticides and herbicides (weed and feed) products are quite dangerous, especially to kids who play and roll around here. (well not here as this is my lawn and there is no danger-come on over neighborhood kids!)
Do not trust the lawn care guy who states they are "perfectly safe in the small quantities we apply."
That is a BIG red flag!
Ask for SPECIFIC chemicals they use and google them before letting them be added to your soil. 


  1. Excellent article Diane! It makes me think...

    In the last 25 years or so, the use of lawn chemicals to get rid of dandelions and other "weeds" has really proliferated. Another thing that has happened in the same time frame is that the incidence of autism has skyrocketed. There have been many things attributed to that rise, and nothing has really been proven, but I can't help but wonder if lawn chemicals have a role somewhere in that rise. So many people are exposed and unaware of being exposed. And it's not like it's a question on medical history forms. (I would hope that at least Allergists would be asking!)

    Anyway, whatever triggers autism may not be any one thing, and there's a lot of money at stake to protect the makers of whatever those things are. Perhaps this (lawn chemical poisons and autism) has already been researched and disproved, and I don't know why I even think about autism since I personally don't know anyone affected by it, but its rise in our "modern" world is a curiosity to me.

    Again, great article, keep up the good work!

  2. dhlisa, Thanks for the comment! I agree there are more and more childhood diseases that cannot be explained. In Canada, one woman who is a dermatologist started testing her patients and they all had lawn care pesticides in their systems. Including the children! Because of this amazing doctors persistence, Canada has banned the use of lawn chemicals in yards--products that are available everywhere in the US. This is all documented in a documentary called A Chemical Reaction, by . Quite an amazing movie! I am trying my hardest to get the word out you can easily harm your family, your pets and the environment by using these products. Another wonderful resource is Beyond Pesticides. check out

  3. Diane, Wow, even though it's been a mild winter here in CT, it seems early to be getting those kind of solicitations. I'm glad you're sounding the alarm about the dangers of chemical lawn care, it's certainly something to think about before signing on the dotted line.

  4. Excellent points, Diane. We really need to get homeowners to rethink their lawns - how they are treated, watered, planted, and thier size. Your 'weed' bouquet is a nice touch.