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Guest Blog: If It Rains, Should You Pour (Lawn Chemicals)?

By Alan Cohen

On the afternoon of June 8, 2011, I witnessed a worker finish a liquid application on a lawn on Fessenden Street (very close to a tributary of Rock Creek) in Gaithersburg, Md. I asked him if that made sense because of the approaching storms. He said the liquid would be dry before the rain, and it would not wash into the Creek, and the Bay.

I had a different opinion, and asked him for his supervisor’s name, and it was Don McEwen (sp?) at TrueGreen, Gaithersburg (formerly, ChemLawn). His number is 301-840-8090.

First question I asked Don was:

“Are you interested in being a good corporate citizen this afternoon or are you just interested in making money?” and then, “Because there is a flash flood watch, a severe thunderstorm watch and heavy rains predicted (since last night on, will you send your crews home so this material does not end up in Rock Creek or the Chesapeake Bay?”

His answer was:
“Applied correctly, our materials will not reach the Chesapeake or any of its tributaries”.

He did not want to discuss the subject further, nor did he answer my first question.
He referred me to his Branch Manager, Kevin Fitzgerald at 301-840-8090, and to the corporate office at 1-800-TRU-GREEN.

Do you think the DC City Council (and other governing bodies elsewhere) would pass a rule requiring that pesticide and fertilizer applications are not permitted on days that rain is predicted at or greater than 50 percent? (or 60 percent, or what number would work?).

I think this is a critical step in meeting the EPA and Chesapeake Compact guidelines to prevent runoff of chemicals and fertilizers into the Bay.
Let me know your thoughts.

Alan Cohen is the founder of Bio-Logical Pest Management, Inc.
P.O. Box 9578
Washington, DC 20016
Phone: 202-237-7509

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

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