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To Spray Or Not To Spray

Picture of a well manicured lawn.

This kind of professional grooming requires a lot of time and engergy. Photo credit: AdamKR

Imagine moving into your first house as a new home owner. The subject of lawn care comes up in one of your early conversations. The neighbor informs you that “your yard” is a mess due to the previous owner’s lax standards.

He then goes onto tell you in painstaking detail about how he started his lawn from sod of the finest Kentucky blue grass. He gleefully informs you about the service providers he employees to care for his lawn. One person to spray chemicals to kill weeds. Another person to mow his lawn once with the bagger off and a second time with the bagger on.

I found myself in this exact situation. As you might imagine, I take a much different approach to taking care of my lawn. I see it as a chore and my views are more in line with Paul Wheaton’s approach to lawn care.

Not Watering The Lawn Conserves Water

I never water my grass because I view it as a waste of water. Watering also makes the grass grow faster requiring more mowing. I take advantage of the mature trees on my property to provide shade and keep the lawn from burning.

Forage For Pollinators

Picture of clover in a lawn.

Opting out of herbicide encourages flowers in a lawn. Photo credit: woodleywonderworks

I enjoy seeing honey bees and other native pollinators visiting flowers such as dandelions that others consider weeds in my yard. Reduced variety of forage will have a negative impact on honey bee colony health.

When I had to reseed a section of my yard, I used a mix that included clover. The clover will attract rabbits and other wildlife. I have also found more than one four leaf clover in my yard.

Herbicides Introduce Toxic Chemicals Into The Environment

Have you ever gone to the garden section of a retailer during the spring and noticed that chemical smell in the air? That smell is coming from the off gassing of the bags of lawn chemicals being offered for sale. The smell is a warning sign that the chemicals are placing a heavy load on your liver in order to deal with the toxicity.

Have you ever noticed the sign on someone’s lawn after it has been hosed down with toxic chemicals warning you to stay off the lawn? I don’t think the aesthetic benefits of using herbicides on a lawn outweigh the addition of chemicals into the environment.


Consider your lawn care practices carefully. What is the purpose of the actions you take? Are you simply caving to peer pressure from your neighbors? If you use chemicals on your lawn, do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages? Why not opt out of spraying dangerous chemicals in your own back yard?

Don’t Drink The Water

“Mother, should I trust the government?” -Pink Floyd

“If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.” -Tube of Colgate paste in my bathroom.

Do you think the idea that ingesting fluoride to prevent tooth decay seems strange? What if I asked you if swallowing sun screen would prevent skin cancer? That doesn’t sound very appetizing does it? Like sun screen, fluoride is meant for external use and is harmful if swallowed.

As the back of the Colgate bottle shows, fluoride is a known poison. It is used to kill bacteria on teeth during brushing and is then supposed to be spit out. Why then does the government add it to municipal water supplies? It turns out that people have researched this topic and concluded that it is done as a subsidy to the aluminum industry.

Are  you interested in opting out of fluoride?

If you currently have municipal water service it may not be practical to switch to well water. However, there are at least two readily available options that will prevent the unneeded consumption of excess fluoride.

  1. Drink bottled water.
  2. Use a filter capable removing fluoride such as a Berkey with the appropriate filter.