This Year, Go Organic

This is the time of the year when we’re all bombarded by fliers for lawn care, but only a few are offering treatment that is free of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. And even fewer of these companies have the appropriate certifications needed to use the traditional fertilizers.

The good news for us and our environment is that there have been significant improvements in organic programs both in terms of certification programs and products that have made organic solutions a real option. The Board of Trustees has started the conversion process by interviewing organic companies to take over the care of our common properties. As part of this process, we are asking for pricing for individual homeowners so that we can take advantage of our buying power. Stay tuned and we will let you know as soon as we have completed this process.

Check out this article about the concerns of the Bernards Township Environmental Commission and others. Organic solutions are really gaining momentum and there is a large volume of information on this topic. We strongly encourage you to investigate organic alternatives before making any final decisions on lawn care solutions for this upcoming season.

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Toxic Chemicals on Our Lawns?

I’ve become increasingly concerned about the use of chemicals and artificial fertilizers on our lawns. I think they are unhealthy for us, and a problem for the stormwater system and the watershed. I’ve been told that nitrogen fertilizer also creates nitrous oxide, which is a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than CO2. I think we at least need to raise the question as to whether these treatments are necessary, or harmful, and something we should consider discouraging.

In July I suggested to the Board that I write an article about it for the web site, and draft a letter to go out to residents in one of our regular mailings. We agreed that this would be useful, to provide as much information to residents as possible, to present a balanced view, and to discuss the right policy for Liberty Ridge. Some people feel strongly that it’s an individual right to decide how to manage their landscaping and their lawns; others that it’s a common right to be healthy and free of toxics in the immediate environment. Still others would argue that people would simply stop using them if they understood the dangers. The Board has already stopped using all chemicals in the common areas. My goal here is to get people in the neighborhood discussing this, and see if a majority agree that it’s time for a change in our practices throughout the neighborhood.

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