Lawn Care and Morses Pond
Before you pour chemicals on your lawn (i.e. pesticides or fertilizers), ask yourself if you'd coat the inside of a water glass with the same chemicals and then fill the glass with water and drink it. Remember that what you put on your lawn ends up in Morses Pond, which in turn is our water supply.
Chemical fertilizers wash into the Pond, feeding the weeds and algae creating this (north/west cove #2 of Morses Pond in summer):
As explained in Lawns and Landscapes in your Watershed
Your property is part of a watershed, an area of land from which all the surface water and groundwater flows from higher elevations downhill to a common body of water. No matter how far you live from a body of water, your property is part of a watershed. Therefore, how you care for your yard can affect both water quality and water supply.The size of the Morses Pond watershed is approximately 5000 acres, a good portion is in Wellesley, while other portions are in communities such as Natick and Weston. Thus, whether you are an abutter or live a few miles from the pond, most likely you are part of the watershed that feeds Morses Pond.
Currently, the most visible threat to Morses Pond is from fertilizers which are feeding the weeds and algae. As explained in the most recent study of Morses Pond, there is an overload of phosphorous from the fertilizers placed on lawns. Each person that eliminates the use of non-organic fertilizers will make a difference.
Pesticides applied to lawns do end up in pond. Even if the use of pesticides is legal, it still makes sense to reduce the influx of these chemicals. Organic lawn care is about not using these chemicals and many people have had success without the use of these chemicals. See the Wellesley Pesticide Awareness Campaign for more information.
There are alternatives for keeping your yard green and the pond clean.
Here are some useful booklets from the Wellesley Natural Resource Commission.
But the biggest change of all may be the expectations of people like Debora White of Wellesley, Mass., who is in her third year of organic lawn care. She's changed her outlook on what a lawn should be.
TruGreen ChemLawn "Honored" with 2003 Dirty Dozen Award
North Andover, December 4, 2003 -Citing their widespread promotion and use of toxic pesticides on residential lawns and town fields across the region, HealthLink members from Marblehead and Swampscott joined Toxics Action Center of Boston to present TruGreen/ChemLawn with a 2003 "Dirty Dozen Award" at their headquarters in North Andover.
"TruGreen/ChemLawn is turning our yards and playing fields into toxic dump sites," said Kathleen Klett of HeathLink. "These pesticides are dangerous for our kids and our pets. All pesticides are poisons, that's why when you go to dispose of pesticides it is considered hazardous waste."
The citizen groups refer to scientific studies linking pesticide use on lawns to increased risk of childhood illnesses including, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, brain cancer, leukemia and neurological disorders a major reason for citing TruGreen/ChemLawn.
The award highlights ChemLawn's widespread marketing tactics through their partnership with US Youth Soccer as an example of their disregard for the health and safety of children.
"It's time for TruGreen/ChemLawn to come clean and educate consumers about the dangers of pesticide use on lawns and playing fields," said Jay Rasku, Field Director for Toxics Action Center. "Instead, ChemLawn has begun an advertising campaign using children in US Youth Soccer programs to market their products to soccer parents. This marketing strategy is dangerous and wrong, since exposure to pesticides is a health threat to the developing bodies of children."
Nate Leeson, 8 years old, a Marblehead Youth Soccer player, carried a sign which said, "Please Don't Poison My Pets!" He said "I feel that ChemLawn should not be 'spreaded' because it could make our pets sick." His mother added "None of us are blindfolded to the serious health issues that effect today's society. We should all take preventative measures especially when it concerns our children."