Sunday, August 24, 2008

Grass Warfare: Taking Your Lawn Organic

Three years ago, I undertook an experiment to convert my backyard into an "organic lawn." The goal: getting the soil and grass healthy enough using natural ingredients made from plant, mineral and animal sources versus treating it with synthetic fertilizers and toxic herbicides that could potentially be harmful to humans (particularly kids with developing immune systems), pets and the environment.

Early on, it was slow going battling weeds -- as this video here from July 2007 shows. The producer was John Perugini. (Email: perugini(at)

But now, as my story in yesterday's Wall Street Journal explains, my lawn care regimen has turned pretty boring. I put down natural herbicide in the spring and fall, fertilize a couple of times, hand-weed a bit, and that's it. This podcast delves into it more.

There's a battle picking up across the country between homeowners who use organic methods and those who don't. Expect to see more challenges to state laws which prevent local communities from banning pesticides at the residential level.

To dig deeper...

My 3-year journey chronicled in The Wall Street Journal:
2006 spring
2006 summer diary: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI
2006 fall
2006 slideshow

Organic Gardening magazine

Beyond Pesticides
-- lists studies on health hazards associated with pesticides, links to organic landscaping resources and community groups. -- a site devoted to promoting non-toxic, non-synthetic lawn treatments. -- counterpart to organic movement. A trade group representing makers and suppliers of pesticides and fertilizers.