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I hear a lot about dogs, cancer and limb amputation at work each day, which motivated me to write this:

The sun is out, and you are planning to spend a few of your vacation days getting some work done in the yard. Great! Now, go get your weed killers, your pesticides and other yard chemicals… and take them straight to your local Disposal of Toxics facility. This year it’s time for something different.

First, if you are absolutely convinced that yards must be maintained with chemicals, if you simply can’t imagine a yard without them, then please, pause to consider your commitment to chemical yard management. Why are you so convinced? Is that really the only way?

The choice is yours, but again, please pause to consider your pet, which cannot make those choices on its own behalf; it depends on you to look out for its health and well-being, and it must live in the environment you create.

Consider what may get on your pet’s feet or in its mouth, and the possible long-term effects of that exposure. Ask yourself if a greener lawn or weedless garden beds are really worth any risk to your pet’s health. It is something worth thinking about. And, those of you with small children may have more than just your pet’s paws to consider.
 

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my back yard looks terrible.

there are yellow spots where little Bikhi has piddled, large areas of moss where the picnic table sat for 2 years and the grass died. the maple trees are so big that most of the yard never sees the sun. bare areas that have no grass at all.

if i wanted a beautiful yard i wouldn't have a dog. i have more important things in life than grass, therefore i use no chemicals on it.
 

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Thank you for this post. I have been wanting to get away from using chemicals on our lawn for a long time. Unfortunately, our HOA has certain "standards" that have to be met.

I am willing to put up with a few more weeds to keep my dogs safe. We don't have to have a perfect yard but it can't be overrun with weeds. Can you direct us to safer, more natural alternatives?
 

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Here, here! I wouldn't dream of putting chemicals on my lawn or plant beds because of my precious pups (and future human children).

ColoradoSooner, actually, my lawn is one of the prettiest in the neighborhood because I am organic-only. It's lush green and if there are any weeds, they are outgrown by the grass. Here are two websites that were very helpful for me when I decided I wanted an organic AND beautiful lawn:

http://www.richsoil.com/lawn-care.jsp
http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/organic/2004020829016580.html

I also don't have a problem with weeds in my flower beds. What I do is use thick layers of wetted-down newspaper (I leave them out on the front walkway on a rainy day so I don't have to waste water to get them wet) and put them down very thickly in all my plant beds, then put a thick layer of mulch over that. The very few weeds that dare to peep through are sickly and easy to pull right out. Over time, the newspapers break down and generate some healthy earthworm activity to improve the soil naturally! (Oh, I don't subscribe to the local paper so I got my newspapers via Freecycle... a car full of organic mulch/weed suppressant, for free! :D)
 
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