Neighbor's Use of Pesticides

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Neighbor uses pesticides/chemicals on their lawn

April 2008

How worried should we be about our neighbor using TruGreen/Chem Lawn pesticides/chemicals on their lawn? They also use a pest control company that is not earth-friendly. We have a good neighborly relationship (they're quite a bit older - kids are out of home), but I feel like I might be able to encourage them to switch to human and earth friendly stuff over time.. But, how worried should we be now, as we have young kids? Advice on how to handle? Thanks. worried about neighbor's lawn care

I support your efforts to garden without the use of pesticides,as it is best for the environment and for humans. The most likely way you might be exposed is if a pesticide applied on a neighbor's lawn drifts onto your property (assuming the pesticides are being applied by spraying) and someone is exposed from breathing, skin contact (from the air or touching residue on plants) or eating it (on plants, putting dirty hand in the mouth. It's not always obvious that drift has occurred. Your property may also accidentally be sprayed. Pesticides that kill beneficial insects can affect your property indirectly--I think this is a big concern. Pesticides can get into the groundwater. Having a pest control company come regularly to apply pesticides in the home is definitely a bad idea and unnecessary use of pesticides--these companies often sell uninformed people services they don't need. Your neighbors are being more heavily exposed to pesticides than you are. If they have pets, this is of concern to them as well; pets get the highest exposure, both inside and outside. You could try approaching them with this angle. Although there is a general concern with pesticide use, unless you know the exact pesticide (or other chemical) being used on your neighbor's lawn, it is difficult to know specifically what the risk is to your kids and to you. There are some studies that have shown that applying pesticides in one own's garden is harmful to health, particularly during pregnancy. The pesticides that are used on residential properties today are less toxic than in the past, but are still of concern. Organic gardening is more labor intensive and therefore more expensive than ''conventional''. An intermediate approach is to use ''Integrated Pesticide Management'', which uses pesticides only if a certain load of harmful pests are observed. If you do approach your neighbors to explain your concerns and they agree to stop using pesticides in the garden, they will probably need to look for a gardener who uses organic practices and they may have to pay more than they are currently doing. They should definitely stop regular pesticide applications in the home and garden. Good luck. organic gardener, know a lot about pesticides

Stay off their lawn and MYOB. You are not the eco police! Green but not militant mommy

I don't mean to be rude but it's none of your business. It's not your lawn and if you're SO concerned, don't let your kids roll around on it or eat it. The chemicals aren't going to leach into your kids by being next their lawn. Not only that, chemicals are everywhere and you can't protect your children from everything all the time. I understand you wanting people to be more conscientious but this is too much. You can't control EVERYTHING other people do and you shouldn't be able to. It's their decision. You wouldn't appreciate their advice on raising your kids or the food you eat, car you drive, etc. Give them the same respect and let them live their lives. It's not a meth lab, it's a fertilizer.... Pick your battles

Is your child climbing in their grass or rooting around the neighbors plants? If not, I suggest you mind your own beeswax. Not everyone cares about green may sound preachy and holier than thou if you head over there with the ways they need to green their garden. grass is always greener

Neighbor sprayed our yard, killed our plants

April 2007

Please help me with this dilemma. We live on a friendly street and really enjoy our neighbors on our block, and over the years have worked out building new fences, trimmings trees and so forth. But I'm perplexed about our neighbors behind us. They have just sprayed, and looks like, killed all the plants along our back fence. It looks like a large amount of spray was used, This is unthinkable to me, not only because they destroyed our plants, but because we have a beloved dog, and never use chemicals in our yard.

We do not really know the couple who lives behind us. They are older, perhaps in their 70s, their house faces a busy street, and they usually are not in their back yard when we are in ours. When I discovered the plants, I ventured over to ask about it. She was quite indignant and said our ivy was destroying her fence. I asked her why she didn't talk to us; we would have worked something out. She said it was obvious the ivy was ruining her fence and we never did anything about it. I was amazed, because when we first moved in there were all kinds of vines on that fence, including ivy, and after a few years, I noticed they were cutting any that grew up to their side and throwing it over the fence. So I took it all off. We even built a trellis away from the fence so we could grow a vine on it (but she may have killed that, too.) There is some ivy on the ground on one side, but it's growing on our side. When I mentioned this, she said it was the roots that were destroying her fence. I had no idea of this, or even that it was ''her'' fence. Those roots have probably been there for decades!

My question: Do I report this incident? Or should I try to dig out the ivy roots, plant new plants (they were beautiful, well established shrubs not touching her fence), and hope our dog will not be affected by the poison? I wanted to find out what she used, but she was very antagonistic and I felt I needed to leave. I should mention that they also called the planning department when we installed a (legal) shed in our back yard. Thanks for your take on this.

You have unreasonable, passive-agressive neighbors. Just bite the bullet and pull out the ivy and relandscape the area near your fence so it doesn't encroach upon your neighbors' property line. Deescalate the battle before they ''throw something over the fence'' to your dog. Anon