National Mall To Test “Green” Lawn Care

November 7, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Attempting to prove to the nation that organic lawn care techniques are safe and effective, one of the highest profile lawns in the world is about to try a massive ‘green’ makeover.

The two-week project involves plowing a section of existing lawn at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., adding compost, other natural soil amendments and fertilizers before reseeding the area. The project was organized by SafeLawns.org. Representatives from the natural lawn care company will return to the Nation’s Capitol frequently in the next two years to continue an organic maintenance program on the area that measures more than four acres.

The National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, which both partnered in the project, will now evaluate each of the three plots; one maintained conventionally by the National Park Service, a second that has received standard organic treatment and a third that has had a complete organic

“This is a pilot project to demonstrate whether environmentally friendly soil treatments such as compost tea can improve the viability of the soil enough to make grass more viable under the extreme compaction conditions of the National Mall,” according to the National Park Service website at http://www.nps.gov/nama/parkmgmt/upload/SafeLawns.pdf. The three block comparison is between the U.S. Capitol Building and the Washington Monument, starting at 3rd Street and extending to 7th Street.

“This is exactly the kind of high visibility project we had in mind when we conceived our organization in February of 2006,” said Paul Tukey, founder of SafeLawns.org and author of the best-selling book, The Organic Lawn Care Manual. “If we can grow resilient grass on the National Mall, where 27 million people trample the lawn each year, then we will have demonstrated that we can grow grass anywhere. Most importantly, we’ll have proved that you can grow grass without relying on chemical fertilizers and pesticides that can harm wildlife and contaminate drinking water, as well as cause harm to people and their pets.”

The SafeLawns.org mission is to create a broad based coalition of nonprofit and for-profit organizations committed to educating society about the benefits of organic lawn care and gardening, and effect a quantum change in consumer and industry behavior.

~amanda

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For a ‘green’ lawn, focus on mowing, not early fertilizing, says CU turf specialist

November 7, 2007

Most lawns in New York already have enough phosphorus and don’t need supplementation, especially if clippings are left on lawns, according to recent research by Marty Petrovic, a turf specialist at Cornell. He says that new guidelines can help promote an eco-friendly lawn.

“The first step to minimize the environmental impact of your home lawn is to raise the mower’s blade to a height of 3 to 4 inches — usually the highest setting on your mower — and leave the grass clippings on the lawn to recycle nutrients,” says Petrovic.

lawn by pond

Charles Mazza

Take care to keep your lawn from being a source of phosphorus pollution, especially if it’s located near water or prone to runoff.

Taller grass competes better with weeds and sinks roots deeper into the soil to better withstand midsummer heat and drought, explains Petrovic, and such lawns require less watering and prevent soil from washing away.

In analyzing soil tests sent to the Cornell Nutrient Analysis Laboratory for lawn fertilizer recommendations, Petrovic found that at least 80 percent had enough phosphorus already. When soils are extremely high in phosphorus, Petrovic has found that it dramatically increases the amount that runs off into lakes and streams, where it can promote algae blooms and eutrophication (excessive nutrients in the water) and reduce water quality.

Other tips to promote a “green,” eco-friendly yard:

  • Keep your mower’s blades sharp for a clean cut that reduces stress on the grass.
  • Since phosphorus can leach out of plant material on hard surfaces, clean up plant waste promptly; prevent runoff by also cleaning up any fertilizer or other chemicals on hard surfaces.
  • Avoid applying fertilizer where the soil is always wet because these spots are more prone to runoff.
  • Do not allow clippings and leaves to blow or be raked into roads, ditches or storm water drains where they (and the phosphorus they contain) can easily get into a waterway.
  • Do not apply phosphorus fertilizer unless certain you need it. If levels are high, it might take five to 10 years to draw down phosphorus in the soil to the point more is needed even if you remove the clippings. “Meantime, look for zero-phosphorus fertilizers, and if your retailer doesn’t carry any you should encourage them to do so,” suggests Petrovic.
  • Do not overapply organic products — especially those made from composted animal manures, which are usually relatively high in phosphorus.

“A quarter- to half-inch application of a typical composted manure product may have 8,000 times more phosphorus than a year’s worth of a commercial product’s season-long weed and feed program,” says Petrovic. “That’s a century’s worth of phosphorus in a single application.”

To get the benefits of organic matter without too much phosphorus, consider yard waste composts, suggests Petrovic. They are generally lower in phosphorus than most manure-based products.

  • Even if you have enough phosphorus and return clippings to the soil, grass still needs some nitrogen to form dense turf to prevent runoff. If you don’t want to use zero-phosphorus chemical fertilizers, Petrovic suggests an organic nitrogen source, such as corn gluten, or planting a legume, such as clover, in the lawn that will remove nitrogen from the atmosphere and fix it in the soil.
  • Fall and late spring — not early spring — are the best times to apply nitrogen. Fine-tune watering practices and do not try to grow grass where it doesn’t want to grow. Plant shade-loving plants where there’s too little light, rain gardens where drainage is poor, and hardscape high-traffic areas.

For more lawn care information, including the online publication “Lawn Care Without Pesticides,” visit http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/lawn.

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/May07/lawn.care.cc.html

— Steve Fowler


Scotts Lawn pollution around Marysville, OH

November 7, 2007

The town ‘motto’ for Marysville, OH, that stupid phrase written on all signs upon entering the town, goes something like “Marysville: Where the Grass is Greener.”

This was influenced by the arrival of Scotts. Before Honda, Marysville was a Scotts town. In High School and after High School, if anyone had any decent jobs they talked about 3 facilities: Honda, Nestle, and Scotts. These are the best companies in Marysville by popular opinion.

When I was growing up, however, Scotts was busted for some illegal dumping of hazardous chemicals:

Read the rest of this entry »


Internationally Known Gardening Expert to Lead Campaign for Natural Lawn Care

November 7, 2007

Business Wire,  Jan 8, 2007  

 NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine — Organic gardening pioneer Shepherd Ogden has been named executive director for SafeLawns.org, a new national effort to help Americans learn how to grow their lawns using natural products and techniques. A high-resolution photo is available at http://www.safelawns.org/img/Shepherd_Ogden.jpg.

Mr. Ogden founded The Cooks Garden, one of the nation’s premier seed and supply companies, in 1983. He has been an author, lecturer, consultant and organic market gardener for 30 years and his five gardening books are sold throughout the world. Mr. Ogden is frequently featured in gardening magazines as well as the general consumer media including the New York Times, USA Today, Parade, Forbes, Time, Newsweek and The Today Show and Martha Stewart Living TV Show.

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    At SafeLawns.org, Mr. Ogden will champion the health, social and economic advantages of organic lawn care. “The chemical solutions that have been sold to homeowners over the last 50 years are clearly antithetical to the health needs of Americans and are no longer the best way to achieve a beautiful green lawn. Chemical companies have spent millions persuading us that we need a chemical solution. But we want to let American families know they have been sold a poisoned bill of goods. Even more importantly, we want to show them a better solution. The newest science-based generation of products and techniques will allow them to have the lawn of their dreams without endangering their families and pets, without poisoning the environment and without further contributing to global warming.”

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    SafeLawns.org founder Paul Tukey, the creator of People, Places & Plants magazine and TV show, says Mr. Ogden is the most credible choice to lead the national effort. “Shep’s vision, passion, experience and intellect are the perfect fit for SafeLawns.org. Our goals are huge and revolutionary. We are small and grassroots and taking on a multi-billion dollar industry. Having Shep Ogden, who is known and trusted around the world, is an enormous boost to the campaign.”

    Lawns currently cover 40 to 50 million acres in the U.S. and most are grown with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. A growing body of research finds that synthetic chemicals are known to pollute soil and water and cause health problems for humans and animals. The resources and short informational videos available at http://www.safelawns.org will be geared toward promoting natural alternatives.

    Mr. Ogden and Mr. Tukey plan to also work with the existing landscaping industry, which still relies primarily on chemicals. Not only are those workers particularly at risk, but the consumer market is moving quickly toward a more natural approach. The gardening industry itself is relatively flat in recent years and the only area of growth is in natural products, which now make up 10% of products sold but is growing by 25% per year.

    Shep Ogden was trained in environmental journalism at the University of Massachusetts. His books include The Cooks’ Garden, Step by Step to Organic Vegetable Gardening, Step by Step Organic Flower Gardening, The New American Kitchen Garden and Straight Ahead Organic.

    About SafeLawns.org

    SafeLawns.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting natural lawn care. Its mission is to create a broad-based coalition of non- and for-profit organizations committed to educating society about the benefits of organic lawn care and gardening, and affecting a quantum change in consumer and industry behavior. For more information, please visit http://www.safelawns.org.

    COPYRIGHT 2007 Business Wire
    COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group

    -John Belleau


    Wildfire Drives Carbon Levels In Northern Forests By: Tim Rosendaul

    November 7, 2007

    Week 11: Article 9 (11/07/2007)

    Wildfire Drives Carbon Levels In Northern Forests

    From: Science Daily (11/05/2007)

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071031152918.htm

    Scientists are studying how environmental factors like forest fires and climate influence it has on forest ecosystems. Forest ecosystems acts as one of the regulators in the carbon emissions leaked in the earth’s atmosphere.

    The boreal forest is supposed be effected the most by the rising carbon emissions in the earth’s atmosphere. Boreal forests in the Northeast are supposed to experience more drastic rising temperatures than any other ecosystem.

    Researchers have found that forest fires are the most significant problem to the rise of carbon emissions. The burning of forest puts more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere causing a rise in temperature in the area. They’re saying that the fires are causing a shift in balance with carbon emissions.

    When a forest is burnt down, carbon is released into the atmosphere, which then impacts the decomposition of the soil. The soil begins to decompose all of the organic matter that is burnt, which in return puts more carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

    Forest once know as being carbon eaters are becoming a source of carbon emissions. The destruction of forest lead to rises of levels in carbon emissions because there is no plant life to intake the excess carbon.


    Cargill Recalls 1 Million Lbs Of Ground Beef

    November 7, 2007

    Cargill Recalls 1 Million Lbs Of Ground Beef

     

     

    giant Cargill Inc said on Saturday it was recalling more than 1 million pounds of ground beef distributed in the United States because of possible E. coli contamination.

    Cargill Meat Solutions said the 1.084 million pounds (491,700 kg) of ground beef was produced at the Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, facility between October 8 and October 11, and distributed to retailers across the country.

    The retail chains that sold the beef include Giant, Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, Wegmans and Weis.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture returned a confirmed positive for the E. coli bacteria on a sample produced on October 8, the privately owned company said.

    The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said the problem was discovered through follow-up investigation and sampling after a positive E. coli test at another federal establishment.

    Symptoms of E. coli 0157:H7 illness, the strain associated with the recall, include potentially severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and dehydration. Children, the elderly and people with poor immune systems are the must vulnerable.

     

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    “No illnesses have been associated with this product,” John Keating, president of Cargill Regional Beef, said in a statement. “We are working closely with the USDA to remove the product from the marketplace.”

    Rep. Bart Stupak, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said Cargill CEO Greg Page had been asked to testify on November 13 at a committee hearing on food safety.

    “This latest recall of more than a million pounds of beef is of great concern,” Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, said in a statement.

    The recalled products have use/freeze-by dates of October 19 through Nov 3. Most will have the USDA establishment number of EST 9400 inside the USDA mark of inspection.

    In addition, there are various weights and varieties of ground beef distributed for further processing and repackaging that will not have the same establishment number.

    The recall was the second by Minneapolis-based Cargill in a month. On October 7, the company recalled about 844,812 pounds (383,200 kg) of frozen beef patties produced at a Wisconsin plant.

    In September, Topps Meat Co LLC recalled 21.7 million pounds (9.8 million kg) of ground beef after a string of E. coli-related illnesses. It was the fifth-largest meat or poultry recall in U.S. history.

    Topps, the biggest U.S. manufacturer of frozen hamburgers, has since gone out of business.

    Cargill, a global agribusiness conglomerate, is among the largest privately held companies in the world. Cargill posted earnings of $2.3 billion on sales of $88.27 billion in the fiscal year ended May 31.


    National Mall To Test “Green” Lawn Care

    November 6, 2007

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Attempting to prove to the nation that organic lawn care techniques are safe and effective, one of the highest profile lawns in the world is about to try a massive ‘green’ makeover. The two-week project involves plowing a section of existing lawn at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., adding compost, other natural soil amendments and fertilizers before reseeding the area.

     The project was organized by SafeLawns.org. Representatives from the natural lawn care company will return to the Nation’s Capitol frequently in the next two years to continue an organic maintenance program on the area that measures more than four acres.The National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, which both partnered in the project, will now evaluate each of the three plots; one maintained conventionally by the National Park Service, a second that has received standard organic treatment and a third that has had a complete organic makeover.

    “This is a pilot project to demonstrate whether environmentally friendly soil treatments such as compost tea can improve the viability of the soil enough to make grass more viable under the extreme compaction conditions of the National Mall,” according to the National Park Service website at http://www.nps.gov/nama/parkmgmt/upload/SafeLawns.pdf. The three block comparison is between the U.S. Capitol Building and the Washington Monument, starting at 3rd Street and extending to 7th Street.

    “This is exactly the kind of high visibility project we had in mind when we conceived our organization in February of 2006,” said Paul Tukey, founder of SafeLawns.org and author of the best-selling book, The Organic Lawn Care Manual. “If we can grow resilient grass on the National Mall, where 27 million people trample the lawn each year, then we will have demonstrated that we can grow grass anywhere. Most importantly, we’ll have proved that you can grow grass without relying on chemical fertilizers and pesticides that can harm wildlife and contaminate drinking water, as well as cause harm to people and their pets.” The SafeLawns.org mission is to create a broad based coalition of nonprofit and for-profit organizations committed to educating society about the benefits of organic lawn care and gardening, and effect a quantum change in consumer and industry behavior.

    http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/23753

    -Julia F.