Organic Lawn Care

Organic Lawn Care

Elise Craig lives in a garden apartment in Portland, Oregon, where children roll in the grass and run barefoot across lawns in the summer light. A year ago, she realized that whenever the landlord spread lawn-care chemicals on the grass, her six-year-old son, Michael, lost bowel and bladder control for weeks afterward.

“Michael’s symptoms came back every time they treated the lawn,” says Craig. “They told us it was safe after a day, so I kept him off the grass for a week or two. Michael still got sick. We were ultimately successful in organizing our community to go organic, but we are about to move, and I may face this battle in our new home with new neighbors.”

In Portland, where Craig organized teams of weed-pulling parents at her son’s school (with help from a principal who’s an organic farmer), the city has put up billboards that say, “Is Your Lawn Chemical-Free? Maybe It Should Be.”

Each year, Americans apply more than 80 million pounds of chemical products–including herbicides, insecticides and fungicides–to their lawns and gardens.

Homeowners often don’t realize the myriad health hazards associated with lawn-care pesticides sold under such innocuous names as Weed & Feed and Bug-B-Gon. These products contain pesticides such as 2,4-D (linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) and MCPP (associated with soft-tissue cancers).

People think the government would warn them if these widely sold chemicals were known to damage their nervous systems, harm fetuses or give them cancer. None of these long-term adverse health effects are required by law to be listed on product labels.

“Forty years ago, in the enormously praised and fiercely criticized book Silent Spring, Rachel Carson demonstrated the dangers of pesticides,” says H. Patricia Hynes, director of the Urban Environmental Health Initiative at Boston University and author of The Recurring Silent Spring. “Lawn chemical usage has nearly doubled since 1964.”

Pesticides used solely on lawns are not required to undergo the same rigorous testing for long-term health effects as those used on food. No federal studies have assessed the safety of lawn-care chemicals in combination, as most are sold. Because of industry lobbying, the identities of “inert ingredients” are protected as trade secrets under federal law. Pesticides may contain up to 99 percent inert ingredients, some of which are suspected carcinogens, while others are linked to nervous system disorders, liver and kidney damage and birth defects.

“More than 90 percent of pesticides and inert ingredients are never tested for their effects on developing nervous systems,” says John Wargo, director of the Yale Center for Children’s Environmental Health and author of Risks from Lawn-Care Pesticides, a report from Environment and Human Health. “Children are more affected by exposure to such chemicals because they are smaller and their organs are not mature.”

Wargo adds, “Streams and groundwater in the Midwest are contaminated with atrazine, a widely used herbicide linked to sexual mutations in fish and amphibians. Is this the price we pay for green lawns?”

The Natural Resources Defense Council is suing the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to protect the public from environmental and health threats posed by atrazine, which is banned by the European Union. “Atrazine poses a serious cancer risk for millions of Americans,” says Jay Feldman, director of Beyond Pesticides. “Companies, federal and state regulators downplay the hazards of commonly used pesticides.”lawn care

Steps To Pesticide Freedom
Try “natural” alternatives. Chrysanthemum-derived pesticides, diatomaceous earth and boric acid are sold in garden centers. SharpShooter (citric acid) is an effective insecticide. Or make your own solution of three to six tablespoons of dishwashing soap (without degreaser) per gallon of water.

Squirt weeds. Instead of RoundUp, use BurnOut (lemon juice and vinegar) to kill weeds along walkways. And what’s so terrible about clover anyway?

Get rid of grubs. Beneficial nematodes and milky spore kill them.

Choose native plants. Replace grass with ground covers or wildflowers.

Know your insects. Some bugs are beneficial. Ladybugs eat aphids; lacewings eat caterpillars; and praying mantises eat all insects (even each other).

Furnace Troubleshooting

How to Light your Gas Pilot – Furnace Troubleshooting

If your homes furnace has stopped working, it is likely that the pilot light has gone out. The pilot light in effect creates an electrical signal, when this signal is interrupted (when the pilot light goes out) the gas control valve will not allow gas to go to the furnace. This is a safety feature that prevents gas build up and explosions. There are different reasons why the pilot light goes ranging from a gust of wind to mechanical problems or gas supply problems. In any case if your furnace is no longer working, the first thing to do is to check to see if the pilot light is working. If it has gone out then you need to see about getting the pilot light re-lit. Here are some recommended steps. Furnace Service

First Thing, Turn off the gas valve.

The first step is to turn of the gas valve. This valve is located at the front of your heater. After you do this, wait approximately 3-4 minutes for the valve to reset itself. After this duration turn the valve to the position that is marked “pilot light”. This position is half way between the “off” position and the “on” position. In this “pilot light” position no actual gas will flow to the burner, however when you hold the “pilot light” button down gas will flow to the pilot light.

Then Find the location of the pilot light.

The pilot light is typically found either under the burner or it can be along side of the burner. Above the pilot burner is a metal cylinder that is to ¼” in diameter and is 2 or 3 inches long. There is a narrow tube that runs up to it. When your pilot burner is lit, the cylinder is in the flame. This cylinder is called a thermocouple is what causes the electrical current that tells the gas valve it is safe to open the gas. Although this may all sound very technical, it will be clearer when you actually are looking at your furnace.

Light the pilot light.

Typically, in order to reach the pilot light with a match, you will need either needle-nose pliers or a length of wire or something that can hold the match up to the place where the pilot light sits. (People often use the long fireplace matches to light their furnaces, they are ideal.) Whether you are using pliers, a length of wire, or long matches, it’s a good idea to practice first, to make sure you can reach the pilot light. So try first with an unlit match.

Now light the match and put it up to the pilot light burner. Press down on the pilot light button so gas will flow to the pilot light burner. The burner should start right away. HOWEVER, KEEP THE BUTTON PRESSED DOWN FOR 60 SECONDS. It can take up to a minute for the special element in the thermocouple to start generating the electrical signal that the control valve needs.

If the pilot light keeps burning after you let go of the button, then all is well. Lastly turn the control valve to “ON” and that should be it. If any of this sounds too complicated or confusing please call your local plumber.Call Today: or visit us @ Trophy Air Conditioning and Heating for a Licensed TechnicianView ourSpecial Offersonline

Are you noticing that you are getting too big of a temperature swing in your rooms during the summer when the air conditioner is running? What’s going on with your air conditioner? The rooms get warm and then they get cold.

Call us or read More @ HVAC Services Katy

We have the answer for your Pest Problems

We have the answer for your Pest Problems

So you have a pest control problem – termites, mice or rats, roaches, ants, spiders, or other insects? How do you know which pest control company to choose? Here are some points to think of when choosing a pest control company.San antonio Pest control

First, you’ll want to get a few quotes from different companies. This is where pest-control-quotes makes it easy, see our site here @ Simply fill in the short form and voila – companies contact you with quotes. What could be easier? No need to get out the yellow pages and make a series of phone calls.

When you get the quotes, you’ll want to have a conversation with the pest control companies @ you keep on your shortlist. You’ll want to discuss the following topics with them.

After you explain your problem and they see your premises, they should be able to explain clearly what they propose to do, and why, including

The type of pests
How bad the problem is
What pesticides they propose using, what they contain
Any potential health risks or effects
How they propose to apply it
Any alternatives that may exist including those that don’t involve chemicals
What steps do you need to take to ensure your family’s health during the application of the pesticide
things like leaving the house for a certain period, removing food and drink from your cabinets
What you and they need to do so the pests don’t come back
Address any specific concerns (allergies, infants or elderly people in your house, pets, and any nearby wildlife)
Ask to see the label or Material Safety Data Sheet for the proposed treatment, which will contain any warnings.

Ask to see written proof of the company’s insurance. They should have general liability insurance, which should also cover any pollution that might occur. It should also protect you while the pesticide treatment is underway on your property. They should also have workmen’s compensation insurance, in case a member of their staff is injured on your property. Not all states require such insurance, but be aware of the risks if they do not have it.

Ask about the guarantee. Are there any steps that you are required to carry out in order for the guarantee to be valid? An example in the case of termites could be a stipulation that if you made structural changes to your house without notifying the pest control company, your guarantee is invalid.

Does the company belong to a professional pest control association? Such associations inform their members about the latest techniques in pest control, safety, and regulations. There is a code of ethics. Membership is a sign that they are striving for quality.

Now decide who you’re comfortable proceeding with. Make sure they are licensed. Check your state’s website and find out which authority licenses pest control companies. (Your city may also do so). If applicable, find out from your state pesticide agency whether it has certification programs, and if the company is certified.

Get references: neighbors, friends, at your place of worship, local business. Find out from the Better Business Bureau if the company is in good standing.

Don’t just look at the price quoted but the overall value and your comfort level with the company. When you’re ready to sign the contract, make sure it includes the pricing clearly, and also the choice of pesticides, description of the treatment, and any guarantee and conditions for the guarantee. Now that you are more educated about this, call your Local Pest Control in San Antonio

What to expect in 2017

Scroll To Top