And Safe Yards Montclair

Is the "perfect" lawn worth the risk?


There is growing evidence that synthetic lawn chemicals can be harmful to children, pets, wildlife, bees, and water quality. It is so critical that each of us understand the price we can pay for our lawn care choices.

The good news is that without lawn chemicals you don't have to sacrifice an attractive lawn nor playable field. We are lucky to live in a time where safer lawn care and landscaping alternatives exist that are not only highly effective, but can save people money over time.

Every yard CAN make a difference.

"Chemical-Free" means you do not use synthetic pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides) nor chemical fertilizers, and ideally not gas-powered machinery to care for your yard. The reasons to make this switch are strong:

  • Pesticide-Treated Lawns can be toxic to humans, pets, and wildlife. And pesticide residues can track indoors and remain for year.
  • Children: Are particularly vulnerable due to their developing bodies. The American Pediatric Association recently called on government, schools, communities to reduce pesticide exposure in children.

  • Polluted Waterways: Pesticides, herbicides and excess fertilizers can be washed from lawns into local watersheds disrupting aquatic ecosystems.

  • Waste of a Precious Resource ... Water: Large quantities of drinkable water are diverted to lawns, especially during the summer and large amounts of energy are required to get the water to your hose.
  • Air pollution: Gas mowers are estimated to produce about 5% of the nation's total air pollution.
  • Green-house gas emissions: From gas mowers, leaf blowers, and fertilizer production.
  • Helps honey bees: Who are critical to our food system and who are in devastating decline. These bees are poisoned by certain pesticides used widely in this country and recently banned by the European Union (Clover and dandelion are great food sources for honeybees!)
  • It's better for your lawn: Chemicals give your lawn an artificial boost, but deplete your soil of important nutrients. Organic materials feed the soil and the grass.  Overtime, your lawn will need little maintenance as it becomes sustainable
  • Saves you money over time: As the soil improves, it requires less maintenance


  Read more about impacts here.


"Pesticides and synthetics are simply counter-productive to the creation of a healthy system as they do nothing to contribute to soil health. When pesticides are taken out of the equation over time, soils and ultimately grass plants, get healthier."  Chip Osborne, a national expert and trainer in natural, organic lawn and field care.


 There are several things you can do to help reduce these yard care toxins in your own backyard and community.


1. If you have been practicing conventional lawn care, then please pause and educate yourself about the risks and safer alternatives. And make the switch to organic, eco-friendly practices. We have a nice list of local organic lawn care professionals and native plant gardeners. Email us for this list: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


2. If you have been practicing natural, organic lawn care, join us in inspiring others to make this shift.


Learn how here.


Inspiring words from Sara, a Montclair resident:

"I am against using any chemicals on our lawn because of the environmental and health risks. As a mom, my top concern is my children and I will not risk their exposure to carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting chemicals.  But I am also mindful of the larger implications that lawn chemicals pose. There is no way that chemicals will stay contained on my lawn; it is inevitable that they will run-off into neighbors' lawns, the streets and eventually our waterways. Along the way, this run-off poses threats to pets, wildlife, vegetation and ultimately, our drinking water. While there are more and more alternatives to fossil fuels, there will never be a replacement for water. We all must do our part to preserve clean drinking water for generations to come."

Read what other residents and lawn care professionals are saying here.


 About us:

Founded by Montclair, NJ parents, grandparents, and concerned citizens, we are an incorporated New Jersey non-profit working to inspire a shift in Montclair and New Jersey to yard care practices that are safer for children, pets, and planet. We started because we were concerned by what we learned of the hazards of chemical yard care and inspired by the trends toward practices that are safer, more sustainable, and better for the health of our community.


Join the effort. Lots of ways to volunteer that require little to lots of time. Attend a meeting, email to learn more about getting involved.

- Hire an organic, eco-friendly lawn care service in Northern or Central Jersey. Email us for a list.

- The European Union bans neonicotinoid pesticides used to treat lawn grubs; they have been found to be highly toxic to honey bees. They are still legal to use in the U.S. Sign the petition here.

  • With questions, suggestions
  • To volunteer with us or get something started in your town
  • To get a list of organic lawn professionals
  • To order your Pesticide-Free Zone ladybug sign
  • To have us table at an event, speak to a group
  • To share your stories

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Watch this video of a 13 year-old in a Northern Virginia suburb, urging her community to just say "No" to pesticides.