Although John doesn’t have a specific heading for Environment on the list of topics he covers (as listed on his website), I did find all of this great information on his site to keep in mind while we are tending to our lawns.
Here is my list of Top Ten Tips from Tesh about Intelligence for Your Lawn. John’s tips are in black (along with The topic they are filed under on their website). My hints are listed at the end of each item.
- Don’t wear your shoes into the house (Health & Well-Being) . Dr. Mehmet Oz says that shoes track in all kinds of germs, toxins and chemicals, including E. coli, lead, cancer-causing coal tar from asphalt, and lawn pesticides, which are linked to cancer, neurological problems, and reproductive disorders. So, leave your shoes by the door. My hints: For more on this topic, see my post on Organic Gardening for Babies.
- Lawn care (Money & Finance ) - North Americans spend $50 billion a year to beautify their yards, and that figure doesn’t include water usage. Keeping your lawn green all summer can account for as much as 80% of your water bill, and about half of that water goes to waste. The fix: Keep your grass at least three inches high. It keeps more moisture in the ground, and leads to healthier grass. Limit your lawn’s weekly intake to one inch of water. To keep track, leave an empty aluminum can on your lawn, with the inches marked off. Keep an eye on how fast the water rises from sprinklers, hoses, and rainfall. My hints: See our posts on water conservation for more tips.
- Lawn mowers (Health & Well-Being). According to Dr. Richard O’Brien of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the lawn mower is probably the most dangerous tool around the house. Studies show that 74,000 yearly emergency room visits are due to lawn mower injuries. Mostly from debris flying into the eyes or body of the person using it, and injuries involving the blades – including the loss of toes or fingers. To stay safe, remove all twigs, sticks and rocks before mowing. Wear closed-toed shoes, long pants and safety goggles. Don’t depend on sunglasses – they won’t block debris from hitting your eyes from the sides. Also, wear ear plugs so you don’t damage your hearing. My hints: Better yet, check out the LawnReform website to find out alternatives to lawns.
- Lawn service. (Money & Finance ) - Last year, North Americans spent nearly $15 billion hiring landscapers to mow their lawn and trim the hedges! Maybe you can justify spending $60 per week to save yourself some time, but know this: If you spend one hour mowing the lawn yourself, you’ll burn 400 calories. Over the course of a year, that could burn enough pounds to justify dropping your monthly gym membership too. My hints: See our post on the Health Benefits of Eco-Friendly Landscaping
- The oils from poison ivy linger (Home & Food) If you wear protective gardening clothing, know this: Rash-causing plant oils can remain on fabric for years – and easily transfer to skin. To avoid secondary contamination, rinse garden tools with dish soap, vigorously wipe your shoes with a rag, and promptly wash your clothes in hot water. Also, wash your hands with a cleanser designed to remove plant oils from skin. My hints: See our post on Poison Ivy
- Lawn chemicals can pollute your garden hose. (Home & Food) - Another landscaper recalled a man who treated his lawn with his hose attached to a fertilizer container. Afterwards, he unhooked the hose and took a drink. Because toxins had migrated back up the hose, he got a mouthful of poison. The fix: Make sure your fertilizer container has a backflow-prevention device. To be safe, run the hose for two minutes after removing the container to flush out leftover toxins. My hints: Better yet, skip the chemicals all together!
- Rover comes in from the back yard with a swollen, puffy face (Pets) - Chances are he’s having an allergic reaction to an outdoor plant, or your neighbor’s chemically treated lawn. Believe it or not, a single dose of over-the-counter antihistamine – like Benadryl – may reverse the swelling. You should also give your dog a bath using mild soap, since he may be reacting to an irritant on his skin! If the swelling doesn’t go away within a few hours, or if Rover has trouble breathing, get to the vet. My hints: See our post, Dog Safety in the Garden
- The best time to water your lawn. (Random Intelligence) If you want the greenest yard on the block, sprinkle it in the early morning, right at dawn. That’s according to Charlie Nardozzi, a senior horticulturist at the National Gardening Association. Morning, just before the sun rises, is the coolest part of the day, so the roots of the grass will soak up more water and stay hydrated. Plus, watering at daybreak help prevent plant diseases by preventing the grass from staying damp overnight. My hints: See our posts on water conservation for more tips.
- Carefully manicured, large, green lawns are going out of fashion.(Home & Food) - Scientists at the University of Michigan found the common idea that people want big homes and big lots may be a myth. Results of a new study show that people actually prefer a view of woods over a traditional lawn. This could be a huge untapped market for developers and tree-huggers. So put that mower away, sit back and watch the trees grow, instead! Not only is it the preferred landscaping, a natural view of trees reduces stress. My hints: Check out the LawnReform website to find out alternatives to lawns.
- Before hiring a landscaper, make sure you know what chemicals they’re using. (Home & Food)Pesticides can be extremely harmful to pets and people. One woman let her dog walk on a recently sprayed lawn. Within minutes he was vomiting and going into seizures. By the time the vet figured out it was the pesticides, the poor dog was riddled with skin cancer and tumors. Some pesticides are so toxic that they can cause Parkinson’s disease, Hodgkin’s disease and liver cancer. Instead, make sure your landscaper uses greener techniques like kelp spray or bug-eating birds. My hints: See our post, Tips for Choosing an Eco-Friendly Lawn Care Company