Following my last post about the lawn care advice from Consumer Reports.org it seems that not everyone agrees with their suggestions. I found this article over at The Garden Professors which specializes in science-based gardening information. Paragraph by paragraph they dissect the original article and point out that many of the remedies would be ineffective and that some are downright dangerous.
For years I subscribed to Consumer Reports. I appreciated their objective approach to product testing and lack of advertising. In their own words, their policy is to ?maintain our independence and impartiality? [so that] CU has no agenda other than the interests of consumers.? But recently they?ve veered off the science-based trail ? at least the one running through our gardens. Their approach to plant and soil sciences is more pseudo than science. And last year, after 30+ years of loyal membership, I quit my subscription when Consumer Reports began partnering with Dr. Oz (see here for instance ).
So until today I?ve been blissfully unaware of whatever CR has published on gardening and garden products. Then this post appeared on our Garden Professors blog group page ). I?ve included some of the article below along with my italicized comments in brackets.
?Lawn care without the chemicals: rid your yard of weeds and pests with these mostly organic solutions?
??Here are 10 common weeds and pests that plague homeowners nationwide, along with chemical-free measures [?chemical-free?? Well, we shall see.] that should be effective in bringing them under control. For more information, go to the websites of Beyond Pesticides and the Great Healthy Yard Project. [Neither of these two sites is remotely scientific or objective.]
?Dandelion ? what is it? A perennial weed whose common yellow flowers turn to windblown seed. Telltale signs. Though a handful of dandelions is no big deal, a lawn that?s ablaze in yellow has underlying problems that need to be addressed. How to treat. Like many broadleaf weeds, dandelions prefer compacted soil, so going over the lawn with a core aerator (available for rent at home centers) might eradicate them. [Like many broadleaf weeds, dandelions will grow anywhere. That?s why they?re called weeds.] It also helps to correct soil imbalances, especially low calcium.? [I?m curious how CR determined a ?soil imbalance.? And did they test their hypothesis experimentally?]
?Barberry ? what is it? An invasive shrub with green leaves and yellow flowers, often found in yards near wooded areas. Telltale signs. Left unchecked, the shrub?s dense thickets will start to choke off native trees and plants. How to treat. Cut back the stems and paint their tips with horticultural vinegar or clove oil (repeated -applications may be needed). Burning the tips with a weed torch might also work.? [Yes! Chemical free vinegar and clove oil! By the way, clove oil has NO demonstrated efficacy for this application. And I?m sorry, but ?burning the tips? of barberry is just going to stimulate lots of new growth below the damage. Just out of curiosity, how many people have problems with barberry in their lawn?]