‘Should be last resort’: Gardeners warned over using ‘toxic’ chemicals on lawns

Garden lawns likened to 'deserts' by Diarmuid Gavin

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Weeds on lawns can be seen as an eye sore, especially by those who work hard to maintain a meticulous garden lawn. To oust lawn weeds, gardeners will often pull them out manually using a weeding tool or they will resort to herbicides. While herbicides can be a quick fix, they can have a negative impact on the surrounding environment.

David Hedges-Gower, chairman of the Lawn Association, has explained why using herbicides on lawns “should be a last resort”.

Gardeners across the country often use herbicides on their lawns to remove weeds and moss.

However, Mr Hedges-Gower said herbicides like these are “powerful and toxic” chemicals and can have an impact on the environment.

He said: “Let’s be clear; a herbicide – that ‘harmless’ addition to many commercial or retail lawn fertilisers for apparently killing weeds – is a powerful and toxic chemical.

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“Despite this, thanks to a shameful lack of regulation in lawn care and incredibly poor advice, our gardeners have for decades been encouraged to buy and spread these ‘convenience’ products.

“They are promised the benefits but are not told of the environmental impacts.”

The lawn expert said grass is the most “widespread and diverse plant group on the planet” and is also one of the “greenest”.

Grass can actually adapt in some of the most extreme conditions without the need for chemicals.

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Mr Hedges-Gower said lawns should be one of the most natural parts of the garden so they can remain healthy.

He added: “A good native sward, nurtured through basic modern lawn care, simply won’t leave enough room for a serious lawn weed problem.”

However, the lawn care expert wants to take matters a step further and ban the sale of lawn herbicides being used by the general public.

He argued that in other sectors, potentially dangerous chemicals have been removed from general sale.

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In fact, earlier this year some slug pellets were banned as they contain a pesticide called metaldehyde.

This can be potentially harmful to birds and mammals.

The lawn care expert continued: “Here at the Lawn Association we believe it is time to ban the sale of lawn herbicides to the general public.

“Asking gardeners to use these chemicals responsibly is like asking all motorists to be able to service their own cars safely.

“Herbicides should be a last resort – and only used by those with professional training and regulation (for the moment).”

Lawn Association is looking to reduce herbicides being used so recklessly.

Lawn Association is offering gardeners a lawn care course so they can learn how to create and maintain healthy lawns without using chemicals.

They will also be offering a course for lawn professionals so they can use herbicides more efficiently.

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