We humans are a series of contradictions. The most recent example became clear to me during my daily walks with our new puppy. In my suburban neighborhood, I find myself moving in a constant zig-zag motion to avoid the sidewalk in front of a lawn with a recent pesticide application. I’m on hyper-alert for that little white and red flag, that toxic smell, or those pesky little white pellets that stick to your shoes (and end up in your house). This is particularly challenging at dusk.

So I ask, if you’re trying to eat more nutritious or organic foods and exercise regularly to live a healthier and theoretically longer life, why jeopardize it all for a green lawn?

The research is clear and plentiful. Most lawn fertilizers are harmful to humans, animals and nature. Pesticides, common in most weed killers, are linked to serious diseases and neurological disorders. Children and pets are especially vulnerable.

Yes, I know, suburbia seems to require a green, weed free and manicured lawn, but what’s the point if your life or your pet’s life is cut short as a result?

The good news is that there are many safe alternatives for lawn care. They are not as quick of a fix, but the pay-off is worth it, right? You’ll be doing something good for yourself, your family, your neighbors and the environment. The Yahara chain of lakes will thank you as well.

The runoff and resulting phosphorus problem is as much from lawn fertilizer as it is from farm fields. Come spring, be the proud owner of a pesticide-free lawn.

Carolyn Bach

City of Stoughton