How Do I Get My Neighbors to Stop Putting Chemicals on Their Lawn? | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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How Do I Get My Neighbors to Stop Putting Chemicals on Their Lawn?

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Published May 12, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.


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Dear Reverend,

My neighbor has their lawn treated by one of those companies that sprays chemicals, and I hate it. After a treatment, there are small signs posted telling people to keep pets and children off the lawn. Why would anybody do that? I've never actually met them, and I don't know how to get them to stop.

Dan D. Lion (male, 52)

Dear Dan D. Lion,

You neighbor has fallen victim to the suburban myth that they need a lush green carpet of grass around their house. I say, if that's what you're looking for, get some dang Astroturf and call it a day.

Some of the chemicals used in those sprays are nonspecific biocides, meaning they don't just kill weeds and insects. Squirrels, chipmunks, birds, butterflies, bees, you, your kids and your pets all can suffer ill effects from that crap. Not to mention that it causes harm to the air and water. But nobody likes a nosy neighbor, so you need to play your cards carefully.

You could go analog and pamphlet the neighborhood with flyers outlining the dangers of pesticides. Since it's illegal to put such things in mailboxes, you might find it easier to take your plea to the internet. Your town probably has a Front Porch Forum or a community Facebook page where you could post some information.

Have you considered starting a campaign to have toxic lawn care chemicals banned in your town? The website beyondpesticides.org might be a good place to start researching the steps involved in taking such action.

Or, here's a really crazy idea: How about talking to your neighbor? It may be awkward at first, but say hello whenever you catch them outside. Bring over a plant. After you get to know them a little, strike up a friendly conversation about lawn care. They may never have realized the harm they've been causing. You might be able to help them see the light and possibly make a new pal in the process.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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