Edison, N.J. -- American lawns don't need to be dandelion-free, says the founder of SafeLawns.org. It's much better for them to be healthy for children and other living things.
That's one of the many green-minded messages Paul Tukey delivered to a small group during the New Jersey Flower & Garden Show here. Tukey is founder of the non-profit pro-environment organization SafeLawns.org
"If people want to care for their landscape naturally, they have to embrace the idea that soil is living," he said.
While he still thinks retailers should do more in terms of banning harmful pesticides from their store shelves, he said he was encouraged by the growth in the consumer demand for organic lawn care products. What was close to 0% penetration about 10 years ago has risen to about 10% of the market today. In some areas, use of organic lawn care products has risen to about 50% he said.
Tukey also promoted the cost-benefit of the organic lawn care. Although organic lawns are about 20% more expensive to maintain initially, they are less expensive over time. In five years, he said, organic lawns are about half the cost to maintain than chemically enhanced lawns.
"The way I explain it is this: Organic lawn care is an annuity," he said.