For as long as humans have been planting patches of grass around their homes, the most common method of maintaining a landscape has typically been: “mow, apply a generous and regular supply of man-made fertilizers and pesticides to prevent weeds, water and repeat.” But just because that's the way it's been done for generations doesn’t mean it’s the healthiest process for the lawn—or for people, or for the environment.
Excess mowing and water usage, not to mention the cumulative dangers of pesticide exposureto humans and the environment, are all good reasons to consider converting to a more natural, low-maintenance way of taking care of your association’s landscape. One way to reduce the impact of an HOA's landscaping and lawncare regimen is to switch to organic products and processes—or even to just incorporate a few into your current program.
A Growing Trend
As the risks of using harsh, synthetic chemicals to control weeds and insects have become more widely publicized, and the concept of environmental consciousness and "green" living has moved from the fringe into the mainstream, many HOAs are taking a closer look at how they manage their grounds and landscaping projects. Making better use of organic products and processes is one way some communities are lessening their ecological impact.
"Organic landscaping is done without the use of harmful synthetic pesticides and fertilizers,” says Dan Corra, business manager of Plantscapes Organics Inc., in Fairfield, Connecticut, who explains that organic landscaping consists of many components, such as using only organic materials—including fertilizers, and weed-, insect- and disease-control products—testing the soil, creating a low-maintenance sustainable landscape, composting, aerating, overseeding, managing storm water, choosing the right plants, and mowing properly. “It’s not only about the methods and materials used," says Corra, "but also a mindset on how to approach the care of our landscape and the living systems around us.”
According to Bob Rogers of Taylor Management Company in Cedar Knolls, much of the interest in greener landscaping practices is attributable to the proliferation of information about more traditional methods and materials.