Is your lawn safe for children, pets, and the environment? Scott Freedman, a NOFA certified organic lawn care technician transforms turf into a pesticide-free lawn and is ready to teach others how to do the same.
Join Mt. Cuba for an online class on Saturday, August 15 from 10 to 1130 am as Freedman highlights eco-friendly cultural practices to create attractive lawns that are safe to use. Tickets are available to attend.
We sat down with Freedman to find out more about what new gardeners need to know and what you can expect to learn from his class.
Mt. Cuba Center: A green lawn is the envy of every home on the street, why should people consider going chemical-free?
Scott Freedman: That “healthy” green lawn that is completely weed-free is also completely dependent upon pesticides and fertilizer to promote what aesthetically “looks” healthy when in reality it is far from it. In fact, home lawn and gardens receive more pesticides per acre than agriculture! Pesticide use on lawns are part of a “downstream” problem where excess pesticides and nutrients travel away from the application site and increase vegetative growth in waterways and pollute groundwater. In this class, I really try to change the perspective of what it truly means to have a healthy lawn. What I promote is using cultural activities to develop a healthy stand of turf that minimizes weed pressures due to turf density and health.
Mt. Cuba Center: How is a chemical-free lawn program different from those that use traditional 4-step program?
Scott Freedman: Chemical-free lawns do not rely on pesticides to reduce competition; they rely on the appropriate use of organic fertilizer to provide proper nutrient levels as well as other cultural activities such as higher mowing height and mulching of leaves/grass to name a few.
Mt. Cuba Center: Many gardeners are concerned about weeds in their lawns, how does an organic program treat those weeds?
Scott Freedman: Let’s be clear right up front, it takes A LOT of work in an organic program to deliver a weed free lawn, but that is not what I am promoting. The perspective I promote is that a “healthy” lawn is a diverse stand of plants. One that will contain plants that to some are considered weeds, to me they are sources of food for early season pollinators.
Mt. Cuba Center: What piece of advice would you give to anyone who’s thinking about going chemical-free?
Scott Freedman: You need to change your perspective on what a lawn should look like. There are some “weeds” that you can keep at bay through different cultural activities, but by and large they need to learn to embrace stand diversity.
Register for Scott Freedman’s Online Pesticide-Free Lawns class on Saturday, August 15 from 10 to 1130 am.