b'Chapter 9Recovery from Lawn ObsessionAre you or someone you love addicted to a dream lawn?You are not alone. The perfect suburban lawn has become an American obsession, turning us into lawn-chemical junkies who require increasingamounts of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to satisfy our cravings for immaculate turf. Billions of dollars are spent on television advertising to convince us to buy the latest lawn care products and to look with alarm at stray dandelions or clover. But theres a catch. Dream lawns are not safe for people, pets, or the countless wild things that normally inhabit our yards.Lawn chemicals poison our drinking water and contribute to the deteriorating health of our ponds and bays - artifi cially green lawns produce green waterways. Right here on the Cape, there is an easy and inexpensive remedy for the American lawn habit: the traditional Cape yard, a natural habitat that includes a variety of indigenous grasses, mosses, lichens, and wildfl owers. These native ground covers survive summer heat and drought without pampering, poisoning, or polluting. They also feed birds, bees, butterfl ies, and are safe for children and pets.Remember that lawns, particularly turf lawns, do not belong next to waterbodies.If you already have an established lawn that is adjacent to a waterbody, the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension has determined that by creating, at a minimum a 10- to 20-foot wide buff er of native vegetation between the lawn and the waters edge, the eff ects of a fertilized lawn and managed landscape can be mitigated.This assumes that any fertilizer is applied at the correct rate and with proper application methods. 1 1Clark, Roberta A., Selection and Maintenance of Plant Materials for CoastalLandscapes.12 Step Program for Dream Lawn AddictsStep 1 - Just Say NO to Pesticides and HerbicidesMake a fi rm commitment to protect your family, your pets, and your neighbors from lawn chemicals.The fi rst step is to dispose of all your old pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides at the next local hazardous waste collection day.If you plan to use a professional lawn care company, hire one of the regions organic landscapers.If you decide to go cold turkey, get support for kicking the lawn chemical habit.Research the dangers of these substances or consider the following:By State law, all schools in our region now restrict pesticide use to protect children. Its up to you to protect them at home. The risk of canine malignant lymphoma doubles with the use of herbicide 2,4-D on a dog owners lawn.Many Canadian municipalities have banned or severely restricted the use of common lawn-care pesticides includingthe herbicides 2,4-D and MCPP.So called inert ingredients in lawn chemicals can amount to 95% of the product and may be more toxic than active ingredients. Golf course maintenance crews working with toxic lawn chemicals face elevated risks of dying from brain cancer,lymphoma, prostate cancer, and large-intestine cancer. Page 49bluepages.indd 49 8/26/2009 1:52:34 PM'