Controlling insect damage on lawns can be accomplished by using biological, biorational controls (derived from items in nature) or synthetic pesticides (man-made). At NaturaLawn of America, we prefer to use a biological or biorational approach when the option is available. Biological controls are "living" materials that can attack and limit damaging turf insects. Some examples of biological controls are Milky Spore, Nematodes and BT (Bacillus Thuringiensis).
Biorational controls are non-living materials that are not manmade synthetic chemical pesticides. Biorationals can affect insects in one of three ways:
- Deter them from feeding on the turf because they make the grass taste bad.
- Prevent the insect from maturing by disrupting the "molting" phase.
- Can outright kill the pest if ingested by some insects.
Some examples of biorational controls are NEEM (oil extract), pyrethrum (extract from chrysanthemums) and insecticidal soaps (derived from fatty acids).
Synthetic controls are those insect chemical controls that are manmade pesticides. Synthetic insect controls tend to have harmful effects on beneficial insects as well as turf-damaging insects. As such, if NaturaLawn of America uses these materials, applications are done sparingly and in affected areas only.
Making the Choice
Whether one chooses to use a biological, biorational or a synthetic material to control or reduce insect populations, it should be understood that all are considered pesticides. As such, any choice can be abused and the use of any material should be well thought out as to:
- Is there really a need?
- What are the options?
- Which will cause the least negative environmental impact and still control the pest, yet be cost effective?
NaturaLawn of America's Philosophy
We prefer natural controls (biological/biorational) over synthetic pesticides and will continue to explore newer products along these lines. Natural controls generally:
- Are more environmentally friendly by being "pest specific."
- Do not last long and break down readily into the ecosystem.
- Are more expensive than synthetic insecticides.
- Are more difficult to incorporate into a lawn care system due to certain limitations in the way they must be applied and when they need to be applied to be effective.
While traditional lawn care attempts to make a case for use of synthetic types over natural controls, our agronomic and operational philosophy mandates that natural controls take precedence over the synthetic controls whenever and wherever possible.
As stewards of the environment, we have a responsibility and accountability for ourselves and future generations.
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