Less-Toxic Lawn Care
April 21, 2004 9:38 AM   Subscribe

My lawn needs some TLC, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to become your typical Suburban Lawn Nazi. I'm interested in lawn services, but I also have a toddler, and I'd like her to be able to play in the yard without wearing a hazmat suit. Anyone have any insight or knowledge about less-toxic lawn care (preferrably available from a service, not something I have to give up my Saturdays to do)?
posted by briank to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
What sort of care does it need? Just maintenance, or do you have a weed-infested, overgrown mess where a lawn should be?

Maintenance can be well handled without chemicals (unless you want a bowling green). If it's a real mess, you might consider returfing in any case.
posted by bifter at 10:20 AM on April 21, 2004

We have a 16 month old, so we don't use pesticides or herbicides if at all possible. (The exception being the massive amount of poison we had to use to get rid of the fireant colony which took over our yard.) It meant keeping the boy out of the yard for a week or so...but he couldn't go back there with the fireants either...so it was a wash. We don't use any "greening" chemicals like the Chemlawn products, because it's so incredibly bad for the environment, children and pets.

Without knowing where you are, it's difficult to say what services are available, although were I you, I'd do a local google search for "organic lawn services"

Here's some links for organic yard products if you're feeling DIY about the place. Note that even organic products can still be deadly to children and pets. Poison is poison...some poison just breaks down faster. Beneficial bugs are a boon to home gardeners...but again, bugs are often region specific...so what works here in North Texas probably won't work in say Nebraska.

You will never, never achieve the golf course look without using astounding amounts of chemicals and water. My opinion is that it's not worth it...although, I'm sure my neighbors wish I though differently. ;)
posted by dejah420 at 10:32 AM on April 21, 2004

Response by poster: Not looking for the 18th Hole at Pebble Beach, just need to fix a few bad spots and then moving forward keep it healthy. But I'd rather pay somebody to do it for me. I'll dig through the local Google stuff a bit, I was just curious if anyone had any direct experience.

(Boston area, btw)
posted by briank at 11:14 AM on April 21, 2004

I recommend that you have your service use mulching mowers. The grass is chopped up and returned to the lawn, which is a great natural way to fertilize. Bagging is considered "neater" but I've never noticed a difference. So the benefit is you get a greener lawn for free, and you don't have to pay to haul away the clippings.

As for chemicals, I haven't tried that so I won't comment.
posted by Jonasio at 12:27 PM on April 21, 2004

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