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May is National
Organic Landscapes Month


APRIL 15, 2001

May is National Organic Landscapes Month
Online Exclusive, April 15, 2001

In recognition of spring and the continuing trend toward chemical-free lawns & gardens, Canadians Against Pesticides (CAPS) has designated May as National Organic Landscapes Month.

"Lawn grasses are among the most chemically mistreated plants on home landscapes," says Bernard Frazer, Director of CAPS (an news/informational resource for grassroots groups across Canada). "National Organic Landscapes Month is a time to recognize how pesticides and other lawn/garden chemicals negatively affect our yards... but more importantly that such toxins pose grave health threats to our children."

CAPS remarks that switching to healthier, more ecologically sound practices is not difficult.

"There are some very simple things you can do to develop and maintain an organic residential greenspace."

Aerating, mowing high, spreading a fine layer of organic compost in the Fall, re-seeding with hardy native grasses and incorporating other groundcover species like White clover or Crown vetch will keep grubs in check and crowd out so-called 'weed' species.

"People should know that, once weaned from the chemical habit, lawns will be easier to manage. You will mow and water less, they'll be healthier and they will look great!"

Legitimate organic land managers like Ottawa's Appleseed Organic Lawn Care offer comprehensive natural lawncare services. Their programs deliver results equal to, if not better than, professional chemical treatments and they often cost less.

Frazer also points to newer trends in organic landscaping.

Many gardeners are replacing their lawns with native wild grasses. These are strong, naturally pest-resistant plants that have a huge leg up on the traditional lawn grasses because they are indigenous to the region and possess inherent resistance to the climate and pests specific to that area.

It's a time to recognize how pesticides and other lawn/garden chemicals negatively affect our yards... but more importantly that such toxins pose grave health threats to our children.

There is also a trend toward "Habitat Restoration" which establishes a bona fide ecosystem in your yard. The introduction of native plant groupings keeps pests and weeds in check, eliminates the need for mowing, watering and greatly reduces the back-breaking labour. You'll also welcome rabbits, butterflies and a host of other fauna to your yard. Check out Toronto gardening author, Lorraine Johnson's "Grow Wild" (Random House Canada, 1998) for tips.

May is also the 1 year anniversary of the pivotal federal report "Pesticides: Making the Right Choice for the Protection of Health and the Environment" which also concluded that pesticides were a serious health threat and recommended a phase out of cosmetic use chemicals.

The majority of Canadians would seem to agree. Two recent polls, an October, 2000 Environics poll and a December 2000 MacLean's Magazine Online Poll reported that the vast majority of Canadians felt that pesticides pose a serious health threat and want the federal government to reduce pesticides in our environment.

A good many doctors, such as members of CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment) concur. CAPE stated that "in as timely a fashion as possible, all synthetic pesticide use should be abandoned".

For free brochures on ecological lawn/garden care and alternative ground covers visit:

Ottawa's "Health Dangers of Urban Pesticides Working Group" (HDUUP):

The City of Toronto website:

Greater Vancouver Regional District website:

For more information on organic lawn/garden care or the movement to eliminate the cosmetic use of pesticides, visit the Canadians Against Pesticides website