Organic Lawn Care Taking Off

With the U.S. adding some 2 million acres of residential property a year, lawns are becoming a significant environmental issue. In addition to sucking up water — the average lawn drinks about 10,000 gallons of water over and above rainfall, says the U.S. EPA — lawns are frequently doused with fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that pollute groundwater, kill worms and other small creatures, and can slowly poison kids and pets. Add in gas-guzzling, pollutant-spewing mowers and those lawns aren’t looking so green after all. Thankfully, organic lawn care is growing in popularity. Recently, a group of lawn-care and pesticide-industry groups joined enviros and the EPA to create the “Lawn and Environment Coalition,” which in March unveiled the first-ever guidelines for eco-friendly lawn care. Although there are no federally established and enforced standards for what counts as organic — a situation enviros lament — many companies are coming out with lines of lawn-care products labeled as such. “Hybrid mowers, water-conserving sprinklers, and organic fertilizers are all potential gold mines for industry players,” wrote industry analyst Don Montuori.