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Landscapes and Lawns

A growing body of evidence in scientific literature shows that pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child's neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine system, even at low levels. Young children are particularly susceptible because of their rapid growth and decreased ability to detoxify toxins. Fortunately, there are proven safe, effective, and affordable ways to maintain attractive lawns and playable fields without the use of toxic pesticides. Use the resources below and in our Tools for Change page to help get the pesticides out of your community - whether it's at the municipal, park, school or backyard level.

In your backyard

  • Display a Honey Bee or Ladybug yard sign. Show your neighbors that pesticide-free lawns are important for the health of your family, the environment and the community. At eight inches diameter, these painted metal signs will not rust and will retain their bright colors for years. The sign comes with valuable information on organic lawn and garden management, pollinators, and how to talk to your neighbors about pesticides. (download owner's manual here). Signs are available for $13 each ($10 plus shipping for ten or more) at our online store.
  • Go Organic (with your lawn!). Create your own pesticide free space in your backyard. In addition to the owner's manual above, see Beyond Pesticides' factsheet for information on how to manage your yard without weeds: Read Your "Weeds"- A Simple Guide to Creating a Healthy Lawn. Fall is the best time to manage your yard! Read our fact sheet, Organic Lawn Care 101 for specific information on how to get prime your yard for the next year!

In your community

  • Distribute Doorknob Hangers. "Want a Green Lawn Safe for Children and Pets?" Our Safe Lawn Door Knob Hanger is a tool to help spread the word about the dangers of lawn pesticides and the ever-increasing availability of alternatives. It's an easy, non-confrontational way to approach neighbors that may be using pesticides. You can request a free pack of 25 doorknob hangers by sending an email with your name and address to info@beyondpesticides.org. You can order larger quantities from our online store as well.

  • Take a course. ‘Organic Land Care Basic Training for Municipal Officials and Transitioning Landscapers,’ is taught by Beyond Pesticides’ board member Chip Osborne, a professional horticulturist with over 30 years’ experience, and an expert on building and transitioning turf to organic care.

  • Enact a Policy. Many communities across the country have taken a stand against the use of toxic pesticides on their lawns and landscapes. In 2010, the state of New York passed the Child Safe Playing Fields Act that prohibits the use of toxic pesticides on school and daycare center playgrounds, turf, athletic and playing fields. In New Jersey, over 30 communities have made their parks pesticide-free zones and have passed resolutions adopting a pesticide reduction policy. Connecticut and Illinois have also moved forward to reduce children’s exposures to lawn pesticides. See whether your state already has Lawn Notificiation Policies or for a list of examples of cities and communities that have pesticide free spaces, see Beyond Pesticides activists tools pages. For assistance in proposing a policy in your community, contact Beyond Pesticides at info@beyondpesticides.org or 202-543-5450.

  • Federal Legislation. Children need better protection from toxic chemical exposure while at school. Numerous scientific studies find that pesticides used in schools are linked to cancer, asthma and other health problems. A 2010 Harvard University study links everyday pesticide exposure to ADHD. While some states have taken limited action to protect children from pesticides in schools, these policies represent a patchwork of laws that are uneven and inadequate. The School Environment Protection Act (SEPA) establishes a minimum national standard to protect kids in their places of learning. Ask your member of Congress to support SEPA.

To take this information with you, download the bi-fold brochure, Pesticide Free Zones in Your Community.

Organic Land Management: From lawns to landscapes and beyond

(2011 National Pesticide Forum)


Talks on organic land care from organic turf and parks to grazing goats and medicinal uses for invasive plants to traditional organic gardening for Native American youth. This presentation was given at "Sustainable Community: Practical solutions for health and the environment, Beyond Pesticides' 29th National Pesticide Forum, April 8-9, 2011, Denver, CO.