Archive for the ‘Lawn’ Category

Pet Health – Yard fertilizers and Chemicals

What you put on your yard and lawn can have a major health impact on your dogs.  Many of the fertilizers in common use and most for the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides can be highly toxic.

These chemicals can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin. Your pets walk through your grass and get these chemicals on their fur and carry it into your house or their kennel.  They will then start to clean their legs and underside ingesting high levels of toxic substances.  Many of these substances can increase the chance or cancer, lymphoma, birth defects and decreased fertility and many other diseases.

Even the main ingredients in synthetic fertilizer can be harmful to pets it they are allowed to ingest where over application has occurred.  Studies done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that nitrate can cause endocrine, immune and nervous system malfunctions and well as reproductive problems.  Be sure to change any water out that has been contaminated by high nitrogen fertilizers in that it can be very harmful to all animals.  Many of the fertilizer you buy will have health warnings printed on the bag.

Another of the main ingredients in fertilizer is phosphorus.  It in heavy concentrations can be carcinogenic.

Test have been run on many of the synthetic fertilizers commonly use and they have been found to contain many heavy metals and have been linked to multiple health problems including heavy metal poisoning and cancer.

In one major test of synthetic fertilizers showed that of the twenty-nine tested fertilizers twenty-two contained toxic heavy metals.  These metals are linked to either ecological or human health hazards. Most noticeable is the wide array of toxic metals that exist in fertilizer: http://www.pirg.org/toxics/reports/wastelands/

Inert Ingredients – While we know that the active ingredients in pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizer can do harm to humans and animals, we forget about the inert ingredients.  Things like cadmium, toluene and hydrocarbons found in these products can be left off pesticide labels so some people do not know that they are even in the product.  With synthetic fertilizer if you buy a 10-10-10 you know what 30% of what is in the package is, while the other 70% is not regulated and can in many cases is the cheapest thing they can buy to fill out the bag.  Many of these “inert ingredients” have adverse health effects on both animals and humans.

The New York Times reported how a champion ice skater, Christina Locek, was sunning herself in her Illinois backyard when a lawn care company began spraying insecticides onto a neighbor’s yard.  The article described how the spray drifted into Ms. Locek’s yard, across her and her cat and dog.  The cat died within minutes.  The dog died within a few hours.  Ms. Locek collapsed and is now permanently disabled and no longer able to compete.

Let us look at some of the chemicals:

Insecticides – Many insecticides work by interfering with an insect’s nervous system.  Even though insecticides kill insects, they usually won’t kill your pets, but they can have a detrimental effect on their nervous system.

The pesticide Dursban (also called chlorpyrifos), commonly used in indoor and lawn pest control, is now showing evidence of causing immune system disorders – Department of Health Science, California State University.

The pesticide MCPA, used as an ingredient in some lawn pesticides, has been found to damage a part of the brain known as the blood brain barrier Annual Reviews in Public Health.

The results of another study suggest that organophosphate, and carbamate pesticides, can produce behavioral manifestations following accidental exposure.  The effects of the pesticides on activity support the hypothesis that these agents may affect the central nervous system. Dept. of Pharmacology, University of Mississippi.

Pet Bladder Cancer Linked to Lawn Pesticide Applications.  Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association, April 15, 2004.

Even using organic pest control products can be very dangerous if handled wrong. It is best never to mix two different products together in that they can form deadly compounds.

Herbicides – Herbicides kill unwanted plants. 2, 4-D (used in Agent Orange during the Vietnam War) is a frequent ingredient and is believed to be associated with malignant lymphoma.  Fungicides can affect the nervous system and cause digestive problems.

An article published in Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis; found that an unidentified chemical in Roundup caused genetic damage in the livers and kidneys of animals.

Deborah Cory-Slechta and colleagues at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry said that some herbicides (paraquat was one mentioned) showed clear signs of Parkinson’s, a progressive and incurable brain illness.

Fungicides – Fungicides can affect the nervous system and cause digestive problems.

Deborah Cory-Slechta and colleagues at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry said that some fungicides (maneb was one mentioned) showed clear signs of Parkinson’s, a progressive and incurable brain illness.

Synthetic Fertilizers: Many synthetic fertilizers use materials as fillers that contain excessive amounts of heavy metals that can cause various type of cancer.

Products like “weed and feed” are a combination of fertilizers and herbicides.  This combination is a major danger to your animals because of the large number of dangerous chemicals this type of product contains.  Many people who use “weed and feed” fertilizers use it for all applications thus bringing the levels of herbicide used to a very toxic level.
Recommendation: We are a firm believer in a natural environment. Organic products can give you great yards that are totally safe for you pets, wildlife and children while protecting the environment. Changing to an “All Organic Environment” is not easy in many cases, but when natures balance has been restored you will find your yard is better than ever. Using products, ‘A complete natural ancient humus’, such as Turf and Garden Pro and by Turf Pro USA (www.turfprousa.com) can quickly bind up some of the harmful chemicals and change them into a much less toxic compound.

Organics for a cleaner, better environment for you, your family and pets.

Any comments or questions can be sent to Sales@turfprousa.com

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Dog Spots

Dog Urine Spot Before TurfPro 

A Better Understanding of Dog Urine Spots on Grass

To be able to deal with dog spots you first need to know why they happen and the effects they have on grass and the soil.

  • Dog urine whether it is from a male or a female is 95 percent water and 5 percent water-soluble organic materials and ions.  The amounts of substances present in urine vary with time of day, diet and nutrition, but the chemical structure of dog urine is fairly constant.  Beside the water, urine contains; urea, creatine, uric acid, carbohydrates, enzymes, fatty acids, hormones, sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium and ammonia.  It is the hormones that makes dog urine different from human.  Any dog can tell the sex, health and even the breed from smelling the crystals that are left when it dries.
  • Lets look at what a ‘Dog Spot’ is.  You will hear people say that the grass or plants are is burnt.  Actually what happens is the salt in the chemicals drawing all of the moisture out of the plant leaves, its roots and killing the beneficial soil biology by dehydration.  Technically it is called ‘hygroscopic’ action.  You will notice that at the edge of a ‘Dog Spot’ the grass is very green and healthy.  This is where the amount of nitrogen is down to a level to where there is enough water available so the nitrogen is feeding the grass instead of damaging it.
  • We talk mainly of the damage to lawns that are more likely to be caused by female dogs than males but shrubs and other tall plants can be damaged by male dogs, if they are located where dogs regularly mark them.  The other thing that can reduce damage is to install a post of some type at a critical point so the male dogs will use it instead of your plants.  Female dogs can be trained to use specific areas if you have the time and the patience to do it.
  • Dog spots in lawns vary with the type of grass you grow and the type of soil you have.  Because of the varied climate conditions we have in this country you need to get with a local expert as to what grass is best in your area.  Keeping a healthy level of organic material in the soil and doing what you can to get the grass roots to go deep can make a difference.
  • The first thing you need to do when you see a new dog spot is to thoroughly water the spot to dilute the urea to where it cannot remove all of the water from the plant.  In most cases you are still going to get crown burn but you will save the roots and soil biology.  The thing you do not want to do is put any type of fertilizer on these areas. It will just compound the problem.
  • You will hear that things like saw dust will help.  It does because of the lignin in it can bind up chemicals and it helps store water the plants will need.  Worm tea and compost tea if fresh will replenish the soil biology so it can work with the roots.  The other thing you have to fight is the chemical imbalance that locks up many of the other nutrients that plants need plus the nitrogen chemically breaks down the organic material in the soil thus reducing its fertility.  This can be corrected in part by adding Humates.
  • The reason we recommend TurfPro USA products for use on dog spots is that it is a 100% organic material that has all of the things we talk about above.  It contains lignin, beneficial soil biology, trace elements and has one of the highest levels of Humates available. It also will diminish the odor that is caused by the ammonia and sulfur in the urine.

Treating Dog Spots:

v    For the fastest recovery dog spots need to be treated as soon after they happen as possible.  I recommend using an adjustable rate hose end sprayer set at 2 ounces a gallon or one of EZFLO’s hose bib units EZ Flow Fertigation set on fast.  In coastal regions of the country and from the Rocky Mountains west I would recommend Turf and Garden Pro with Iron and for the rest of the country Turf and Garden Pro works well.  Water the spot down to where you dilute the urine and give good coverage with TGP.

v    For older spots where the grass is dead you need to remove surface thatch to allow good aeration of the soil.  For best results I recommend spreading some of our AgriPro on the area at a rate of 1/4 cup per every one (1) square feet of area. This adds a high level of biology to the area to hasten recovery.  It is available in 2 pound bags that can cover 20 square feet. Also available in 40 pound bags.

After spreading the dry product soak the area down well using our liquid product at a rate of 2 ounces per gallon of water.  Do not water to where you get runoff.  If your soil is real dry you may have to water a little bit at a time till it loosens up enough to hold water.

v    Do not get fertilizer on these areas till you see good recovery or you could reverse the entire process.

Our web site is  www.turfprousa.com  or contact me at  jloepp@turfprousa.com

B007                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4/14/2011

Weed and Feed

Weed and feed fertilizers were developed to make things easier for the homeowner without thought to the environment, human, pet or wildlife health.

Fertilizer and herbicides are not compatible. Fertilizer needs to be watered in quickly so it gets to the grass roots to feed the grass. Herbicides need to penetrate slowly so it stays on the weeds leaf to do its job. Wash it off and it ends up in the ground water as a pollutant.

I will not write here about the health effects of the main weed killer products used in these because there is a large amount of data available on the web about them. The main three herbicides are 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba and all of them have been linked to possible health problems. Many synthetic fertilizers that are used in producing Weed and Feed fertilizers contain harmful elements in the unregulated portion of their mix.

I have not been able to find any studies that address the chemical compatibility of N-P-K and the various weed killers to see if they combine to create an even more dangerous chemical compounds.

Articles such as the Thurston County Washington on weed and feed http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehcsg/weed_feed.html tells the story.

Another problem that makes fertilizer and weed killer’s incompatible is that many times the weed killing agent needs to be applied a number of times to be effective. This means over fertilizing to where most of it runs off. Also, if you are not careful you can kill or do major damage to broad-leaf plants you want to grow, such as shrubs and trees.

Some of the herbicides used in these products along with over use of nitrogen can cause major damage to beneficial soil microorganisms, which are necessary for healthy soil.

The possible health effects that this type of synthetic fertilizer can have on your children and pets alone are reason enough to look at alternatives. Canada has banned weed & feed fertilizer use (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_decisions/rev2010-01/index-eng.php ) for a number of reasons.

Great lawns can be achieved using organic methods with a much reduced chance of health related problems to family and pets plus diminishing environmental pollution. We use a mixture of a liquid fish hydrolysate called MegaGreen for the fertilizer portion

( http://www.multibloom.com/megagreen.html ). It has a mint extract added to it to control the fish odor. With it we apply Turf & Garden Pro for trace elements, beneficial soil biology and lignin.

Weed and Feed fertilizers were developed for connivance of use without consideration of environmental, animal or human health.

If you have and questions please contact me at jloepp@turfprousa.com or call (407) 340-7639.

www.turfprousa.com