(Frequently Asked Questions)
The Safety of Lawn Care Products
Why should I be Concerned?
It’s certainly understandable to be concerned about products used for lawns. We all need to be aware of the products we come into contact with in our daily life. We’re concerned about ourselves as adults, we’re concerned about our children, and our pets. Please read on to be informed about lawn care products.
What about Broadleaf Weed Control and Crabgrass Control?
There is no organic broadleaf weed control that works. We never ‘blanket’ spray the lawn for weed control (unless it’s a lawn that has never been treated). Rather, we spot treat weeds as needed. Typically, this would only be for a handful of weeds.
For crabgrass control: There is no organic crabgrass control that works.
The products we use for broadleaf weed control and crabgrass control are very safe and wouldn’t even kill an ant! See the toxicity numbers below.
What about the Lawn Insect Control you use?
The most widely used lawn insect control (Imidicloprid – brand name Merit) is the exact same ingredient used for flea and tick control on dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens in some pet products. These are topical solutions that you apply directly to the pet’s skin. The active ingredient in the pet Flea control Advantage II is the exact same product in the Allectus insect control we use. The product we use is far less concentrated than what is sprayed directly on the dog. The difference is that the product is 9 times more concentrated in the flea dip than what ends up on the lawn!
You can buy these at any pet store under the brand name Advantage (Made by Bayer) https://www.petshed.com/petcyclopedia/about-advantage-flea-treatment.html
How is Toxicity measured?
LD50 is the Lethal Dose to kill 50% of a population of… usually rats. It’s measured in Milligrams of substance per Kilogram of body weight. The LD50 rating is the scientific measurement of a substance’s toxicity. The HIGHER the number, the less toxic a substance is. Below are some LD50 numbers:
LD50 41 - one of two main ingredients in Seresto Flea Collars for pets
LD50 136 - Lysol
LD50 192 - Caffeine
LD50 1500 - Aspirin
LD50 2200 - the weed control we use
LD50 3000 - table salt
LD50 3350 - Vinegar (20% Acetic Acid). Commonly used in ‘homemade’ weed controls.
LD50 3500 - Baking Soda
LD50 5000 - our Crabgrass control
LD50 5108 – Roundup (Glyphosate)
LD50 5136 - our lawn Insect control
In other words, Pet Flea Collars, Lysol, Caffeine, and Aspirin are all more toxic than anything we use in the lawn treatment business. The crabgrass and insect control we use are less toxic than Table salt, Vinegar, and Baking soda.
What about studies done on pets like dogs?
Over the past few decades, some researchers have tried to make a connection between some of the weed controls we use and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in humans. Other studies have tried to link weed controls to cancer in dogs. All of these studies have been debunked. To our knowledge, there are no credible studies that link the products we use to being possible carcinogens.
What about the Roundup lawsuits?
It’s extremely rare that we use Roundup. This is only by a customer’s request, and never used as a normal part of our lawn care program. In January, 2020, the EPA ruled that Roundup was safe. Note the comment made in the link below: “EPA continues to find that there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used in accordance with its current label.“
This was after most of the jury awards. The EPA doesn’t care about what juries or judges think. Or what ‘fringe’ websites say. The EPA is making its observation based on the scientific evidence: https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/glyphosate
Why don’t you use the organic fertilizer Milorganite?
Milorganite is made from Human Sewage. This is not something we want to work with.
What is the Pesticide Reporting Law?
Since 1997, in New York State, us Certified Pesticide Applicators have been required to report the amount of ingredient used on every application on each person’s lawn every year to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (The DEC). It’s called the “Pesticide Reporting Law”. It was implemented to see if there was a link between regions of the state with higher than normal incidences of breast cancer to areas with higher than normal pesticide usage. After 24 years no link has been found. The last time a researcher even accessed the data for study was over 10 years ago. A complete waste of NY taxpayer’s money, and a complete waste of time for us as Applicators!!
It’s the Dose that Makes the Poison
Have you heard the expression “It’s the dose that makes the poison”? For example, we might clean with bleach and get some on our hands. This would not necessarily be a problem. But what if a person were to drink a glassful of Bleach? That would be much different because of the dose. People commonly use Chlorine tablets to keep their pool clean, but we wouldn’t chew on one. Think of the product Lysol. It ‘kills’ germs. The active ingredient is a pesticide called “benzalkonium chloride”. It has an oral LD50 of 136. Most people don’t see any danger to using Lysol properly, but we wouldn’t hold the can up to our mouth and spray it down our throat.
Do common foods contain carcinogens?
Common foods have been shown to contain tiny amounts of known carcinogens. They are toxic in high doses, but harmless in the small quantities in our food. Peanut butter, for example, contains the mold toxin Aflatoxin which is a known carcinogen. Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aflatoxin . Would it be reasonable to stop eating Peanut Butter because in ridiculously high doses it could cause cancer?
The following foods have proven to have natural pesticide carcinogens: absinthe, allspice, anise, apple, apricot, banana, basil, beet, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, caraway, cardamom, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cherries, chili pepper, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, collard greens, comfrey herb tea, corn, coriander, currants, dill, eggplant, endive, fennel, garlic, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honey, honeydew melon, horseradish, kale, lemon, lentils, lettuce, licorice, lime, mace, mango, marjoram, mint, mushrooms, mustard, nutmeg, onion, orange, paprika, parsley, parsnip, peach, pear, peas, black pepper, pineapple, plum, potato, radish, raspberries, rhubarb, rosemary, rutabaga, sage, savory, sesame seeds, soybean, star anise, tarragon, tea, thyme, tomato, turmeric, and turnip. Reference page 1045 here: http://www.fasebj.org/content/11/13/1041.full.pdf
Treatment of Ash Trees
What will happen if I do nothing?
Eventually all untreated Ash trees will die.
If my Ash trees are already infested, can they be saved?
Yes, in many cases. If the tree has less than 40% thinning evident in the upper part of the canopy, it most likely can be saved with treatment.
Am I just delaying the inevitable death of my Ash trees?
No – the insect is expected to move through the Western NY area over the next 8-12 years. Studies have shown that trees are 100% protected for 2 years with the TREE-äge product, and in many cases 3-4 years. This means you can protect your Ash trees from this pest with most likely 3 treatments over the course of the cycle.
Can my Ash trees already be infested without showing signs?
Absolutely! A tree can be infested for 2-3 years before showing signs in the upper canopy. The tree may still be savable with treatment, but this is not the ideal method, as the tree will be struggling to recover from the damage.
What if I treat my Ash trees, but my neighbors don’t treat theirs?
Your trees will be protected! Tell your neighbors! Their trees contribute to beautifying the whole neighborhood.
Mowing is the most important maintenance aspect in keeping a lawn beautiful and healthy. Mowing intervals should be frequent enough so that no more than 1/3 of the grass blade is removed at each cutting. Do not remove the clippings unless they are so long that they smother the grass. It is desirable to change the direction of the mowing periodically to improve the overall appearance. The blade should be sharpened at least once each season to assure a clean cut.
Rainfall is very helpful in moving the applied materials to the root zone where they become more effective. A hard rain immediately following an application may affect the weed control.
In such an instance we will automatically return to reapply the weed control.
Thatch is a mat of debris between the soil and the crowns of the living grass plants. Thatch is inevitable because many plant parts,especially shallow fibrous roots, tend to regenerate annually thus contributing to thatch buildup. It is a problem because it restricts the movement of air, water, and nutrients. It also promotes shallow rooting and summer stress. Heavy thatch is also an environment for insect inhabitation and disease development. When mowing turf that has a heavy thatch content, scalping often occurs because the mower wheels sink into the spongy thatch layer. If your lawn has more than 1/4" of thatch, aeration is recommended.
Interesting fact: Clippings do not contribute to thatch buildup, according to University research.