Enjoy our Natural Lawn!

Date: September 16, 2017 - 10:00am

Starting in the spring of 2018, the City of Urbana Public Works will manage grass on the City Building’s south lawn free of environmental and health concerns for children, pets, and wildlife by not applying synthetic lawn pesticides and fertilizers. 

“The City of Urbana strives to keep our community a healthy place for everyone to enjoy,” said Mayor Diane Marlin. “Helping residents reduce use of synthetic lawn pesticides and fertilizers provides a safer environment for people, pets, and our rivers and streams.”

This new turf management program begins a partnership with the environmental non-profit Midwest Pesticide Action Center to address the rising concerns of lawn pesticide and fertilizer use in urban and residential areas. Of the 30 most used lawn pesticides, studies have linked 13 to probable or possible carcinogens, 13 to birth defects, 21 to reproductive effects, 15 to neurotoxins, and 26 to liver and kidney damage.

“These risks are most dangerous for our children, who are still developing and exhibit behaviors, such as putting grass in their mouths, that make them susceptible to exposure,” said Ruth Kerzee, Executive Director of MPAC. 

Natural lawn care practices applied at the City Building focus on disrupting the life cycle of pests and weeds and restoring rich, vibrant soil, the essential building block for healthy grass.  The Public Work’s grounds crew will heighten mowing practices to no lower than three inches, implement a core aeration program for the spring and fall, and institute an 100% organic fertilization program that includes composting to improve both soil nutrient content and structure.  

To learn more about natural lawn care and track the City of Urbana’s lawn chemical reduction work look for the distinctive, orange Midwest Grows Green stamp at the City Building, in City communication materials, and at partner retailers Farmtown (1509 E University Ave) and Ace Hardware Champaign (2021 S Neil St). 

Keep Your Lawn Safe and Healthy: Take the Natural Lawn Care pledge
The City of Urbana encourages all Urbana residents to use natural lawn care techniques and join us in taking the pledge to reduce synthetic lawn pesticide and fertilizer use at It’s a simple and cost-effective method of maintaining your green spaces.
Follow these four tips, and you can enjoy a beautiful, safe lawn for your children, pets and the environment:

  • Water Deeply and Infrequently: This encourages deep root growth. Aim for one inch per week. Measure that amount by placing a cup in your yard while watering. You’re done watering for the week when the cup fills one inch deep. Water early in the morning to minimize disease problems.
  • Mow High: Keep your lawn mowed at three inches or higher. This increases root strength and naturally shades out weeds, so your grass withstands drought and stays green longer. Don’t mow unless needed.
  • Use Organic Fertilizer: Commercial fertilizers easily wash away, polluting nearby lakes and streams. Many contain toxic weed killers. Choose an organic fertilizer to capture and deliver nutrients in the lawn throughout the growing season. Keep grass clippings on the lawn as they provide an excellent natural fertilizer.
  • Weed Naturally: Proper lawn care maintenance naturally eliminates most weeds. Annual reseeding gives grass an advantage over weeds. Avoid using pesticides, as they can harm other beneficial living things such as bees, worms, and birds. The right tool makes quick work of weeding. After pulling weeds, use grass seed and soil to fill in the hole. Your grass will grow strong and healthy as a result.

Help us Kickoff our natural lawn care program September 16th!
The City will demonstrate the natural lawn care approach alongside the Urbana Park District and MPAC on Saturday, September 16th at the City Building’s south lawn across the street from Urbana’s Market at the Square (400 S Vine St.).  From 10 am to 11:45 am, experts from MPAC will host interactive, informative games covering different aspects of the natural lawn care approach. Following the games at 11:45 am, both Mayor Marlin and Urbana Park District’s Director Tim Bartlett will kickoff the natural lawn care programs of the City and Park District with short presentations and a raffle for Patagonia outdoor clothing and gear.





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Last modified:Monday, August 21, 2017 - 16:57
- Author: ScottT