Yeah, it's true. I use mostly manual tools and I shy away from herbicides and pesticides. You might be wondering....why?
Well, OK, some of this is for personal reasons - I don't like breathing the exhaust of mowers or leaf blowers, and I don't like having gasoline and pesticides and herbicides in my van. And I am averse to noise pollution. I mean, whatever happened to peace and quiet? Plus, I admit, I like the physical aspect of work using manual tools.
But the bigger problem is air and water pollution. Did you know that gasoline powered yard and garden tools create much more air pollution than cars! And electric tools, though they may not foul up the air in your yard, do nevertheless require energy consumption at a power station.
Did you know that suburban homeowners use more chemicals (in fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides) per acre than farmers? Much much more! These complex and toxic chemicals then run off into our waterways and soak into our soil and eventually into our groundwater, and that's bad news!
Even RoundUp, which I will use for one very particular need, and though it does tend to break down quickly in the soil, is not without its own problems.
One day shortly after I had applied a broad leaf herbicide and a pesticide for grubs to my lawn I found myself sitting outside on our patio doing what I enjoy doing - watching birds, a robin and a bluebird in particular. The robin was doing what robins do - listening for and snapping up worms, worms that had just been ingesting soil filled with the poison I had put out on the lawn! And the bluebird was diving down to grab insects that had just been eating grass blades filled with herbicides! I just felt crummy about that!
So I try to avoid their use as much as possible. There are some plant problems such as scale on Camellias or fungal diseases in Roses that require chemical treatment in order to save the plant. When this occurs I will try to use alternative means if possible to clear up the problem, or help the homeowner know how to eradicate the problem themselves, or I will call my friend Bill Kunze who is certified in pesticide and herbicide use. Professional use of these chemicals is MUCH LESS damaging than use by your average homeowner because proper concentrations and application procedures are used.
South Carolina native son, father of five daughters, writer, gardener, explorer, gardener, writer, Clemson and USC fan, Christian, pilgrim through this beautiful and complicated world...