Spring always brings new—and sometimes surprising—things.
For me, one great spring surprise came when the nanny government in my old Massachusetts hometown issued a sensible warning against using chemical lawn fertilizers.
Yes, once in a great while, nanny-state New England officials will share something more useful than their sanctimonious opinions about how we should all be living our lives… And, they did a nice job on this warning.
The information originally came from a landscaping and lawn guide issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, which warns:
It’s hard to imagine that a green, flourishing lawn could pose a threat to the environment, but the fertilizers you apply to your lawn are potential pollutants…[and] can be washed off your property and end up in lakes and streams. This causes algae to grow, which uses up oxygen that fish need to survive.
Indeed, about 60 percent of water pollution comes from storm water runoff, which picks up chemical lawn fertilizers, oil leaking from cars, and chemicals from failing septic tanks.
It’s quite simple—just never, ever use chemicals on your lawn
As you probably would expect, I strongly advise against using any kind of chemical fertilizer—or the plant-killer Roundup©—to manicure your lawn.
Now, I know lawns with weeds are sometimes viewed as eyesores. But when you don’t use toxic fertilizers and pesticides in your yard, you create a diverse ecosystem that naturally nourishes humans, animals, insects, bees, and birds. Plus, just consider all the health benefits of dandelions!
And as I explain in the current April issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Pretty and practical: The nine best pest-repelling plants for your garden this spring”), the so-called “weeds” that flourish in our ecosystem naturally enrich and replenish the soil. Which means you never need to use chemical fertilizers that actually strip away some of the nutrients plants need to thrive.
And if you live by the seashore, try this old Yankee trick for growing a healthy, green lawn without using chemicals…
Collect seaweed off the shore during winter and early spring, after storms at sea, and spread it on your lawns and garden beds. My thrifty Yankee neighbors state this is the best natural fertilizer of all!
Now that’s a shore thing.