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How GREEN is your grass?

Posted by Ralph Ranalli June 24, 2007 09:45 AM

Dot Casey at the Home Depot in Natick


Dot Casey sold $1.7 million worth of Scotts products out of the Natick Home Depot last year. Her biggest seller the Lawn Pro 4-Step chemical fertilizer-herbicide-pesticide program.

But when the garden center manager's orange apron comes off and she wheels a spreader over her own yard in Framingham, she uses Milorganite, a fertilizer made out of recycled municipal sludge from Wisconsin. For her vegetables, she uses Terracycle Garden Fertilizer, a product packaged in used 16-ounce soda bottles whose primary ingredient is worm manure.

"You should have seen my tomatoes last year, they were like this," the 58-year-old Casey said recently, holding her hands as if she were cupping a softball. "I'm one of those green people. I have to be. ..... I have grandchildren and dogs and a brand-new puppy."

The suburban lawn has always been a symbol of all that is good about living outside the city the antithesis of paved-over urban life, a chance to own a little patch of the natural world. Yet over the years, the lawn itself created through the liberal application of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides has evolved into something roughly as natural as a pink-plastic flamingo, Globe West staff writer and web producer Ralph Ranalli reports.

Now some homeowners are questioning whether having a lawn that looks like a fairway at the Charles River Country Club is worth having to worry about the potential effects of herbicides and pesticides on their children, their pets, and the environment.

They're looking to maintain their lawns organically and organic lawn-care lines like Cockadoodle DOO are now outselling the classic Scotts' four-step synthetic lawn treatment program at some local independent garden centers.

You can read more about the organic lawn care trend in Globe West online, view a photo gallery with more information, or listen to an audio clip of the Needham Garden Center's Gary Graham explaining how he keeps his lawn both green and eco-friendly.

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