[Parentsgroup-list] Herbicide and Fertilizer applied to grounds around Harvard Housing Units

Sebastian Velez svelez at oeb.harvard.edu
Wed May 26 14:27:27 EDT 2010

Hi guys:

I'm a resident of the area and walk with my child and dog around Grant
St. I'm also an Agronomist by training, and worked for 6 years or a
large landscape contractor.

I'm all for less toxic chemicals, but here you are dealing with some
of the most commonly used and probably safest alternatives out there.
SURGE's main ingredient is 2,4-D, which you've probably drank a few
gallons yourself already if you eat anything containing the seeds of
monocot plants (corn, wheat, ect.). It's been used for 40+ years, and
it's registered (=permitted to use) by the EPA in home lawns.

The fertilizer is probably just your standard mix of Nitrogen,
Phosphorus and Potassium (probably based on urea), which is what 100%
of the non-organic produce in the world is grown on. It's probably
been applied to probably 100% of any lawn you've stepped on in your
life. It's not the most environmentally friendly in terms of
production, but it's not dangerous either. The alternative is to use
organic fertilizers, which paradoxically bring more complaints than
non-organic because of their smell. Ask the office of sustainability
about all the bitchin' from the undergrads when they started using
organic fertilizer at The Yard.


On Wed, May 26, 2010 at 12:51 PM, Simone Ispa-Landa
<ispaland at fas.harvard.edu> wrote:
> Dear Harvard Parents --
> I live on Grant Street, in HRES Housing... Some of you may, too. I
> just wanted to let you know that I recently discovered that, when they
> recently did their spring upkeep, they used SURGE Broadleaf Herbicide
> for Turf and LEBANON LANDSCAPE fertilizer. (You may see those yellow
> signs in the lawns warning us to stay off the lawns around Grant St.
> and the DeWolfe Housing Units.)  We e-mailed the Sustainability Office
> and contacted HRES to ask if there might be a better alternative --
> (see below for copies of the e-mails we sent).  In any case, if you
> have any information about better alternatives, are concerned, or
> simply want to be in the loop about this problem, please e-mail me at
> ispaland at fas.harvard.edu.
> Thanks!
> Simone
> Good morning to all at the Sustainability Office:
> Let me join my next door neighbor, Simone Ispa-Land, in raising
> concern about the spraying of the lawns close and contiguous with the
> open windows of our residences facing onto Grant Street and backing
> onto  lawns sprayed last week. We are a quiet, residential
> neighborhood, surrounded by lawns where many children and dogs and
> their adult parents and partners are constantly at play on the lawns
> and in the gardens.
> We are very concerned about the spraying of the lawns and, perhaps
> gardens. Last week, after the spraying, I went to the Harvard Housing
> offices at 8-10 Mount Auburn to speak with them: they supplied us with
> the descriptive sheets related to SURGE Broadleaf Herbicide for Turf
> and LEBANON LANDSCAPE fertilizer.
> The issue is important to all in the neighborhood, Harvard affiliates
> and others who walk their children and dogs along the pathways on the
> streets and in the passages behind the houses. We enjoy being outside
> in this lovely season, but the spraying causes us concern about being
> on the lawns and in contact with the residue of the
> herbicides/fertilizers.
> We look forward to working with The Office of Sustainability so as to
> support the health and well-being of all residents in our neighborhood
> and others under the care of Harvard Real Estate Services.
> With all best regards,
> Carol Bankerd
> 8 Grant Street, #2
> ________________________________________
> From: ispaland at gmail.com [ispaland at gmail.com] On Behalf Of Simone
> Ispa-Landa [ispaland at fas.harvard.edu]
> Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 9:29 AM
> To: sustainability at harvard.edu
> Cc: Bankerd, Carol; leasing at harvard.edu
> Subject: Herbicide and Fertilizer applied to grounds around Harvard
> Housing     Units
> Dear Sustainability Office,
> I am writing because I am a Harvard Housing tenant with a small child,
> as are many of our neighbors. I live in the 6 1/2 Grant St. unit.
> Recently, HRES (Harvard Real Estate) Operational Services applied an
> herbicide and fertilizer on the grounds near our apartment.
> Thankfully, they put up yellow signs stating that we should stay off
> the lawns for three days, and sent an e-mail message around stating
> that the herbicide was "EPA approved." I was very appreciative for
> these messages, as I would not want my child to be harmed by the
> corrosive and toxic chemicals contained in these pesticides and
> fertilizers.   At the same time, I am very concerned about our
> personal safety and the environmental damage that these chemicals
> could cause. I recently discovered that they applied SURGE Broadleaf
> Herbicide for Turf and LEBANON PROSCAPE Fertilizer.  After reading a
> bit about these products, I am even more concerned.  Is there any way
> that we could work together with HRES to find a more safe and
> sustainable alternative?
> Thanks very much.
> Simone
> --
> Simone Ispa-Landa
> Spencer Dissertation Fellow, 2009-2010
> Sociology Department, Harvard University
> ispaland at fas.harvard.edu
> --
> Simone Ispa-Landa
> Spencer Dissertation Fellow, 2009-2010
> Sociology Department, Harvard University
> ispaland at fas.harvard.edu
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