Our Lawns, Our Choice

The other day one of our supporters was walking by his house when he found a bag of brown granular powder burst open on the side of the road. Upon closer inspection, the bag turned out to be 30 pounds of fungicide called Headway G. The granular powder had spread on the road which was adjacent to the Georgica Pond Preserve at the corner of Montauk Highway and Wainscott Stone Road. The next rain would have washed it into the preserve and Georgica Pond.

We are lucky that our conscientious supporter swept up the granules into a garbage bag and, also fortunate, that the very next Saturday was the Stop Throwing Out Pollutants (STOP) day at the Town Recycling Center, where it was disposed of safely and legally.

Clearly, the bag of fungicide must have fallen off a landscaper’s truck. Anyone can buy Headway G online for $84.25/30-lb bag. One wonders what other pesticides and chemicals fall off trucks and don’t get discovered.

It is very fortunate that this bag was discovered. The label on Headway G warns the user to KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. It goes on to say that it is an environmental hazard and extremely toxic to freshwater fish and aquatic invertebrates. A GROUND WATER ADVISORY was also listed as the active ingredient, Azoystrobin, can persist for several months and leach into groundwater. Groundwater is our only source of drinking water on Long Island.

The main use of Headway G is to combat turf diseases. The fungicide is a broad spectrum disease control agent that controls “dollar spot” “brown patch” and other major turf diseases. Overuse can result in leaching into ground and surface waters such as Georgica Pond and fungal pathogens can develop resistance to it.

One has to ask WHY? Lawns are lovely, but if sustained by chemicals and overwatered, they are a hazard themselves and a source for mosquitos and other pests. An organically managed lawn, properly watered (less frequent and longer, deeper waterings) can still be beautiful, perhaps not perfect, but safe for our children and pets to play on while minimizing harm to our ponds and bays. It is your choice.