It's estimated that 67 million birds die in the United States each year due to pesticide toxicity. A lot of that toxicity is related to the chemicals that people spray on their lawns to eliminate weeds. A July-August 2013 article in Audubon magazine notes that 70 million pounds of pesticides are applied to American lawns […]
It's estimated that 67 million birds die in the United States each year due to pesticide toxicity. A lot of that toxicity is related to the chemicals that people spray on their lawns to eliminate weeds.
A July-August 2013 article in Audubon magazine notes that 70 million pounds of pesticides are applied to American lawns annually, which is 10 times more than the amount is used in farming.
For those who choose to do so, the best choice for avian, and human, life is to go organic and use no chemicals at all.
For those who don't mind a few weeds, you may want to follow the six suggestions gleaned from the article, '6 tips to a great lawn, without chemicals' (see https://oldworldgardenfarms.com/2015/06/12/6-tips-to-a-great-lawn-without-using-chemicals/).
1) Mow high; raise those blades. The author suggests setting lawnmower blade height to somewhere between 3 ¼ to 4' about the ground.
2) Sharpen those blades at least once a month. Dull blades tear the grass, rather than cutting it, which leads to brown tips the day after mowing.
3) Stop bagging your grass; mulch it back into the ground. Clippings contain nitrogen and other trace minerals that break down to feed the soil.
4) Don't mow when it's wet. This dulls the lawnmower blades (recall #2 above) and results in clumps of grass that snuff out good grass.
5) Top dress in the fall and spring with compost. The author recommends a 1/8' to ¼' thick fine mix of compost and pulverized top soil
6) Learn to accept a few weeds and less 'unnatural' green. Diversity is good for birds, bees and all creatures which live on the planet.
Choosing not to use pesticides will not only benefit our bird populations but will also help populations of bees and other pollinators, which play a key role in the production of the crops that feed the world. Perhaps even more importantly, abstaining from pesticide use will bless the lives of our grandchildren, in that there will be safer groundwater and a likely reduction in the cancers and other diseases which many types of pesticides contribute to.