Be a Good Neighbor
We have been bombarded with advertising messages that good neighbors maintain a weed-free, bug-free, “perfect” lawn. The sale of lawn care pesticides for residential use in Maine increased by 700% since 1995, meaning your neighbors now apply more pesticides than all of Maine’s farmers and foresters combined! In a recent statewide survey, though, 61% of Mainers said they do not apply fertilizers to their lawns.
Which neighbor are you?
Pesticides are poinsons, linked to health risks in children, pets, birds, butterflies, and marine life.
Testing by FOCB confirms that pesticides and the nutrients in fertilizers are entering our coastal waters, turning coves into expanses of green slime and using up oxygen needed by marine life.
Overfertilizing your lawn is like putting grass on steroids. Routine, scheduled chemical treatments stress the lawn by forcing growth
The solution is Bayscaping
Join your neighbors–or convert your neighbors–to build a robust lawn and protect the health of your community–naturally:
- Water deeply, only once or twice a week, to penetrate the soil.
- Mow high. Cutting grass at 3 inches encourages longer, stronger roots.
- Leave clippings, nature’s fertilizers.
- Take a soil test to see what nutrients, if any, your lawn needs.
- Fertilize frugally. If you must fertilize, wait until the end of summer. Lawns older than ten years generally don’t need lawn chemicals.
- Overseed with fescue grasses to crowd out weeds.
BayScaping: Because the Bay Begins at our Front Door
BayScaping is a “grassroots” outreach program designed to encourage homeowners, businesses, and municipalities to reduce their use of pesticides and fertilizers. Developed in partnership with the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, BayScaping recognizes that our lawn care practices can affect the health of Casco Bay. You can become a BayScaper by following a six-step plan of environmentally-friendly lawn care – email keeper [at] cascobay [dot] org to request a copy of this six-step guide.
Start BayScaping Today by Following These Tips:
- Keep your lawn area small, which will help reduce stormwater runoff. Instead of planting grass, use trees and shrubs to absorb rainwater and prevent soil erosion.
- If planting grass, use a Bay-friendly mix of low maintenance seeds. Click here to learn about grass seed mixes suited for a variety of growing conditions. You’ll also find out where you can buy these mixes locally.
- Test your soil to see what, if any, fertilizer it needs. If you must apply fertilizer, wait until late summer/early fall, when the soil is warm enough to absorb it.
- Check out the guide Gardening to Conserve Maine’s Landscape: plants to use and plants to avoid from Maine Cooperative Extension.
- Visit the Maine YardScaping website to learn how you can join the growing number of Mainers who have decided to change their yard care ways – for the health of the environment, people, and wildlife.
We Found Pesticides In Stormwater
Since 2001, Friends of Casco Bay has been sampling stormwater around the Bay, and we’ve detected the presence of pesticides, bacteria, and nutrients — pollutants that can damage water quality in Casco Bay. Learn about our findings in the Wildwood neighborhood of Cumberland Foreside.
A Chemical Reaction: The Story of a True Green Revolution
A Chemical Reaction, is a documentary that tells the story of one of the most powerful and effective community initiatives in the history of North America. Learn more about activist, Paul Tukey, and the film at www.paultukey.com.
Beyond Pesticides: Tools for Change
The National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides provides examples of policies, programs, and pesticide free parks across the country, like this beautiful example in Camden, Maine!
Help Fund our BayScaping Program
Your donation will help our staff and volunteers connect with homeowners and businesses to teach them how to grow green lawns that keep Casco Bay blue. Donate here and write “BayScaping” in the designation box. Thank you!