Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Price of That Green Lawn

Here at Casa boran, we do the natural thing when it comes to lawncare. I've taken this route to avoid both being enveloped in a chemical cloud during the application process and having nasty compounds sitting in my child's play area. I mulch leaves into the lawn in the fall and do the same with clippings during the mowing season. (Yes, the lazy approach.)
Inorganic fertilizers contain nitrates, at least some of which gets into the groundwater.  

University of Minnesota Extension

Inorganic fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate are all water-soluble or quick-release N sources. ...

Once beyond the rootzone, nitrates can continue moving through the soil and may find their way into groundwater sources. ...

New research has now shown a relationship between use of fertilizers and pesticides and premature births/birth defects.

ENS link

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, May 7, 2007 (ENS) - The rising premature birth rate in the United States is associated with increased use of pesticides and fertilizers containing nitrates, according to research by a professor of clinical pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. ...

Winchester and his colleagues found that preterm birth rates peaked when pesticides and nitrates measurements in surface water were highest, from April through July, and were lowest when nitrates and pesticides were lowest, in August and September.

The highest rate of prematurity, 11.91 percent, occurred in May and June and the lowest, 10.79 percent in August and September. These results were independent of maternal age, race, education, marital status, alcohol or cigarette use, or whether the mother was an urban, suburban or rural resident.

Nitrates can have several effects.

Nitrates and pesticides can disrupt endocrine hormones and nitric oxide pathways in the developing fetus," Winchester said. ...

In young infants, ingestion of nitrates, components of fertilizers that are often washed into surface water and groundwater, can reduce the blood's ability to carry oxygen.

THe lazy approach is looking better and better.  For those with greater needs, there are organic fertilizers now on the market.



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