If you’re like me, you start and end your day by walking the dog(s) around the neighborhood. Folks with more time or close proximity have the benefit of walking their dogs around one of the city lakes, but that’s an excursion we save for the weekends at my house.
As spring has given way to summer, I’ve found myself on the hunt for dandelions on these daily walks. Actually, now that dandelions have passed their peak, I also look for patches of clover with their small white flowers. It may sound odd to seek out these “weeds,” but hear me out.
My labs, Allie and Poppy, aren’t particularly discriminating sniffers. They will happily snuffle on any patch of grass they find. The problem is, dandelions and clover are sometimes hard to find in my neighborhood – and I really don’t want them to spend time on the green carpet lawns. You know the ones. They look like they’ve been spray-painted green, with nary a weed or dry patch to be found. They are picture perfect!
They are also dangerous.
Those picture-perfect lawns are no doubt treated with some form of “weed and feed.” You can spot them by the tiny little signs the lawn care folks leave behind to warn us not to let our children and pets on them until dry.
Really? So once the chemicals are dry, they have no toxic effects? And what about when you don’t see the sign until it’s too late, and your dog has already sniffed and licked the chemicals, or your kid has already grabbed a handful of grass and put it to her mouth?
Lawn care treatments that kill weeds in addition to fertilizing the grass include chemical herbicides linked to cancers, nervous system disorders and a host of other illnesses. They also leach into our groundwater; so in addition to the exposure you get from your neighbor’s perfect lawn, you’re probably also getting it from the water coming out of your faucet.
As we at Lilja continue to support sustainability efforts locally and globally, I’ll continue on my hunt for what I tell my dogs are “the happy lawns.” The lawns that wear their imperfections with pride, welcoming my pups with a cacophony of dandelions and clover.