Four easy steps to a chemical-free backyard

Sunday Signal
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With people spending more time in their backyards, parents are wondering how to create healthier lawns for their families.

You might be surprised to learn that exposure to many pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers can be harmful, particularly for growing children. This is why flags are posted after a yard is treated — they are warnings to keep children and pets away from dangerous chemical exposure.

Chemicals found in pesticides and other lawn products have been linked to asthma, organ damage and cancer, as well as neurological diseases and behavioral problems, according to the National Institutes of Health. The safest approach for everyone, and the environment, is to go organic.

Stonyfield Organic yogurt cares about where cows graze. In 2018, Stonyfield Organic yogurt extended its mission beyond the fields where cows graze to outdoor spaces where kids play, starting with the #PlayFree campaign to remove toxic pesticides from parks and playing fields. Now Stonyfield is helping families do the same for their own backyards.

Organically maintained lawns 

Having a chemical-free, healthy lawn is not difficult if you follow practical, proven organic lawn management techniques.

Follow these steps from Stonyfield Organic to transform your yard into a healthier environment for everybody.

Stop using pesticides

Because of the harm that can be caused by pesticides, it’s best to simply stop using them. If you have nuisance insects in your yard, there are natural approaches to curbing them.

Pesticides kill both harmful and beneficial bugs, so you miss out on the benefits many “good” insects provide.

Test your soil

Most people apply lawn products without first determining what the soil actually needs. Testing helps you discover the right balance, so your soil won’t be too acidic or too alkaline.

Many universities provide soil testing services at reasonable prices. Check your nearest university’s website for details.

Or turn soil testing into a fun family project. All you need is red cabbage, distilled water and the directions at Stonyfield.com/playfree/change-your-own-backyard.

Switch to organic fertilizers

Synthetic fertilizers are manufactured with fossil fuels and are salt-based. They directly feed plants, and can harm your soil. Organic fertilizers feed the life in your soil, and the soil in turn will feed your grass or plants.

4. Use effective organic lawn care tactics 

To achieve a lush lawn without chemicals, it helps to understand what grass needs to grow its best.

Feed your soil nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and micronutrients that will help your grass grow. But don’t feed without testing — the soil test will determine if your grass is getting what it needs from the soil.

Mow high as short grass is considered stressed grass. Most grass grows best at around three inches. This allows your grass to efficiently produce its own food, develop deep roots and withstand drought conditions.

Overseed by spreading a layer of grass seeds across your existing yard to help grow a green and lush lawn.

Following these approaches can make your lawn beautiful as well as safer for your entire family.

For more helpful organic backyard gardening tips, visit Stonyfield.com/PlayFree. (BPT) 

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