Happy New Year! I hope we can work together to make this year a little safer for those living in and near Heatherlea.
I have taken a look at the [landscaping] bids the HOA received. It is unfortunate that it seems the least expensive option was chosen without regard to human health and environmental concerns. I don’t anticipate the HOA is willing to consider other bids? If we work with what we have here, looking at the bid from Valley Crest, I see that they do have several ‘options’ that ultimately would decrease the need for the company to spray herbicides. If turf aeration, overseeding, and pH adjustments are performed the turf should, within a few years, become healthy enough to withstand weed intrusions. This would lower the burden of herbicide applications. As the document notes “Valley Crest provides control for these weeds as a curative program at an additional cost on an as needed basis…” So there is a strong case for those additional options as they will prevent additional costs in terms of herbicide usage (and subsequent unavoidable human and environmental externalities). Do you have the bid from Shenandoah or any paperwork on their charges? It would be interesting, if that company also charged extra for herbicide applications, to look at the amount the HOA spent on herbicide use alone.
The company also has the option of using organic pre-emergent herbicides – corn gluten – and fertilizers, which we recommend.
Performing IPM only around your home is truly an empty gesture. It will not stop drift, and the entire point of IPM is to use an Integrated approach which must be implemented throughout the entire turfgrass area in order to be truly effective. IPM should be practiced throughout the entire HOA; there is never a reason to broadcast spray herbicides for cosmetic purposes. Healtherlea could do a great deal to promote itself as “green” “sustainable” and “environmentally friendly” by changing its practices.
Have you considering [sic] going door-to-door and asking residents if they would accept a slight increase in their dues to fund organic turfcare?
I appreciate all the materials you have provided and your tenacity fighting pesticide use in your HOA. Please let me know if you have any ideas on how we can help. I like the idea of a press release, and have you heard anything back from the county?
Thank you again,