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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A b-e-a-u-tiful and safe lawn for you and your green dog!

After last year's effects of tough weather on our lawn, we've been doing a few new things to bring it back to life this Spring!

Last years heat, and the prior years drought, took a big toll on our lawn. It's really showing this year.
So what have we been doing?

About a month ago, we dug up a few weeds, and sprayed some of the Mega Green Organic Lawn Food Quart RTS fish emulsion we had purchased last fall (we like to purchase in bulk as much as we can to save money in shipping costs, and keep the carbon pawprint lower). Since a lot of our lawn was looking pretty good, and growing very fast with all the rain and cool weather we've been having, we focused spraying the fish emulsion in just certain areas of the lawn that needed help from last year.

Then just last week, the great folks at Terracycle sent us some of their amazing concentrated, liquefied worm poop — nature's premier fertilizer — packaged in a used 1-liter recycled soda bottle. So we couldn't wait to try it out. That's me with the Worm Poo in the pic!

The other day Mum got busy spraying. I have to say that in just a few days we've seen a difference. An area of the lawn that is filled with rock and clay, and suffered a lot last year, is looking oh so much better. We can't wait to see what the next week brings. And we have a little left over that we'll be spraying again in a couple of weeks.

Why do we use such odd products on our lawn?

There are two reasons. It's healthy and safe for us pups, my Mum and our visitors, and it's good for the environment.

Contrary to popular belief and advertising the dangerous lawn chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides, that millions of people put on their lawn throughout the year, have been linked to grave illnesses in dogs. Just think, if they kill bugs and weeds, what are they doing to children and pets? And they are not good for the environment.

Last year we posted about our friend Raisin, an adventurous kittie living near a vineyard in California. Raisin was exposed to the pesticides that were sprayed on the vineyard, and those pesticides had the same effect on her that these dangerous chemicals are designed to have on bugs - poison them. Luckily Raisin survived, and out of the experience her loving owner wrote an incredibly informative post about the experience and research she found. has a multitude of facts and figures relating to the use and affects of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and insecticides on humans, pets and children. They indicate studies find that dogs exposed to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens can double their chance of developing canine lymphoma and may increase the risk of bladder cancer in certain breeds by four to seven times. (xvii) This site is also a great resource for finding and utilizing organic, eco-friendly, and safe lawn care.

In Canada, eight Canadian provinces have provisions enabling municipalities to enact pesticide by-laws. And approximately 45% of the Canadian population is protected from pesticides. Quebec is leading the way with regulation of pesticide sales and have province-wide protection.

In this report and DVD "The Truth About Cats, Dogs and Lawn Chemicals," which was funded by Newman’s Own Foundation, you can learn more about the dangers and effects of lawn chemicals on your pets.

Having an organic lawn is a lot easier and inexpensive than you may think. What are the top tips to keep a healthy, organic lawn?
  • Adjust the your soil pH
  • Utilize an organic fertilizer
  • Overseed and mow High to choke out weeds
Thanks for these tips from "The Truth About Cats, Dogs and Lawn Chemicals", and be sure and watch their video for more information.


  1. Hey, love your blog! Thanks much for the eye-opening warnings about dangerous products....

    Check out my new blog: Top Dog Blog!

    It's still pretty new, but I'll be adding new content and pictures daily.


    See you there!

  2. Thanks Kim!

    We also had a Q from one of our friends on Twitter - barkaboutit. They asked "Can you recommend a weed killer? We have hundreds of dandelions so pulling them isn't possible"

    We know your situation well my friend :)

    There is no green, eco-friendly and safe solution to killing weeds. There are earth friendly vinegar based products that will kill weeds, but they also kill grass. So that's not an option.

    You can utilize a granular corn gluten based fertilizer that will help prevent weeds. But once you have them, there isn't anything green to kill just the weeds. We suggest mowing often before they have a chance to go to seed. It will keep your lawn looking better.

    Garden's Alive - one of the links on the post (click on Weed Control) carries some of these corn gluten weed control products, just be sure to read all the ingredients before purchase to make sure there isn't something that your pup may be allergic to.

    The very best thing you can do to prevent dandies for next year is fertilize with a green fertilizer this summer, fall, and next spring with worm poo or fish emulsion or use the corn gluten based product - this will make your lawn very nice and thick, choke out the weeds, and you will have many fewer weeds next year.

    We have a couple of areas of our lawn that are full of dandies. So we are concentrating on fertilizing and overseeding those areas this year, so next year there will be less!

    Thanks for your Q - here's to your pup and earth friendly lawn!

    If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!


  3. It's barkaboutit, thanks for the reply. I already fertilized, but not with the worm poo. Sounds gross but effective.

    I might try pulling, maybe I'll make a dent. The yard is full of crab grass and clover too. It's an ugly mess let me tell you.

  4. They banned more than 250 chemical pesticide products in Ontario. Researchers have found that pesticides can be associated with serious illnesses, including cancer, damage to the immune system, and neurological problems. Funny how they just found this now and these products were being sold for decades. Now, many of the weed killers are not available anymore unless you buy them outside of Ontario.

  5. My dog is allergic to corn so corn gluten based products aren't an option for us. But Terracycle might. thanks for the info!

  6. Thanks, I really appreciate the good information! Keep it up.

  7. As a Master Composter for the county of Santa Clara, I can add a bit. (1) Most thatch is caused by watering too often too shallowly--it's the roots and stems growing on the surface. Read up on how to determine how much water your lawn needs for your soil. Or ask at a nearby garden center if you have one where they know what they're talking about.

    (2) Do grasscycling. That is, leave the clippings on the lawn. Best if you have a mulching mower, but I've got a manual reel mower and that works well, too. Best if the lawn is dry when you do it, and best if you're not cutting off more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the length of the blades each time. This is so healthy because grass is mostly water and nitrogen, and guess what people most often put on their lawns--yeah, water and nitrogen!

    (3) Set your mower as high as possible so the grass is longer--shades out the weeds and keeps the moisture in much better. (Some grasses apparently do better shorter but I don't know which; again, necessary to find out from a knowledgeable turf expert, but from what I've seen, even a lot of thm think it has to be shorter than it really does.)

    (4) Compost your yard waste (especially if you don't grasscycle for some odd reason, compost your grass clippings with other yard waste), sift it, and put it back onto the lawn. I'm glad to answer composting questions if people have them.

    I've not had to fertilize my lawn in years.

  8. For the person with the dandelions, have you tried a tool like this:,2160,40706

    If you can do it standing up, it's a lot less work, though still a pita.


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