Field of Science

Are my lawns and gardens chemical free?

OK, here's a big confession. No! Everything out there is nothing but chemicals, and organic too; no inorganic lawn or garden at all. Has that clarified the issue?  In all honesty, one of our lawns had become a total field of blue violets and thousands of seedlings were germinating promising things would get worse, so it was treated with an herbicide. A well-meaning neighbor asked if the violets had been "poisoned"? No, not in the sense that you mean; they were treated with an artificial plant hormone that kills dicots by affecting their physiology.  And next some chemicals will be used on azaleas and rhododendrons to prevent clorosis, iron-deficiency. Small gardens are sometimes hard to maintain without some chemicals because you cannot sustain many losses.  Our gardens seldom need insecticides. A row cover protects the broccoli from Lepidopteran herbivores, and every now and then an infestation requires some insecticidal soap, and our fountain pond is treated with Bt bacteria to prevent them from breeding swarms of mosquitos.   Unfortunately, tree holes abound, and so do tree-hole mosquitos, a not good species in terms of disease vectoring. And fertilizer, yes, it becomes handy in intensive cultivation situations. Chemicals for certain, but it's a funny thing, plants don't care about where they obtain their nitrogen. So, no again. Not chemical free.

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