The Dirt

Chapter 12: Preventing Lawn Pests

Chapter 12: Preventing Lawn Pests

Albrecht, W.A. 1975. The Albrecht Papers. Raytown, Mo.: Acres U.S.A. 515 pp. (Available from: AgAccess, P.O. Box 2008, Davis, CA 95617.) This is probably the most important book on soil fertility currently available. If Albrecht’s brilliant insights into the role calcium plays in soil and plant health and his cautions against wholesale adoption of synthetic chemical fertilizers had been heeded, American agriculture might not be facing some of its current problems with soil degradation and groundwater pollution. 

Buckman, H.O., and N.C. Brady. 1969. The Nature and Properties of Soils. Toronto: Macmillan. 653 pp. This basic text provides a good overview of the components of soils and their interrelationships. 

Creasy, Rosalind. 2010. Edible Landscaping, Second Edition. San Francisco, CA.: Sierra Club Books. 384 pp. The first edition (1982) was titled The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping. It and the new edition take you through planning, design, site preparation, plant selection, installation and planting, IPM, and harvest. The ideas she espouses will sound even better after you have gotten up on a Saturday or Sunday morning and mowed the lawn, knowing that you could have been harvesting homegrown produce instead. 

Dindal, Daniel L. 1978. Soil organisms and stabilizing wastes. Compost Science 9(4):8-11. An interesting discussion of the role beneficial soil organisms play in processing organic matter. 

Farb, Peter. 1959. Living Earth. New York: Harper Colophon Books. 178 pp. A wonderful book about life below ground, including an inside view of a termite colony, descriptions of predatory fungi attacking nematodes, and a host of other entertaining insights into life in the soil. 

Ferguson, Nicola. 2005. Right Plant, Right Place. Revised Edition. New York, N.Y.: A Fireside Book by Simon & Shuster. 368 pp.

Glick, Patty. 2007. The Gardener’s Guide to Global Warming: Challenges and Solutions. Reston, VA.: National Wildlife Federation. 36 pp. Help battle climate change in your own backyard. 

Hayes, A., C. Nelson, and J. Nader. 2008. Bay-Friendly Gardening, Second Edition. Oakland, CA.: StopWaste.Org (Alameda County Waste Management Authority and Source Reduction & Recycling Board). 82 pp. Sustainable gardening manual. 

Horts, G.L., L.B. Fenn, and N.B. Dunning. 1985. Bermudagrass turf responses to nitrogen sources. Journal of the American Society of Horticultural Science 110(6):759-761.A technical discussion of the impact of various forms of nitrogen on bermudagrass. 

Kennedy, G., M. Cahill, and M. Mwangi. 2006. A Homeowner’s Guide to Environmentally Sound Lawncare. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Pesticide Bureau. 26 pp. 

Lownefels, J. and W. Lewis. 2010. Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web, Revised Edition. Portland, OR.: Timber Press. 220 pp. The authors, self-described “typical suburban gardeners”, have written a book that is easy for the casual gardener to read, and yet with enough science to please the geekiest of gardeners and landscapers. A Foreword by Dr. Elaine Ingham, Ph.D., President of Soil Foodweb, Inc., shows support of one of the pioneers in defining and promoting the living soils concept. An informative and fun read.  

Madison, J.H. 1971. Practical Turfgrass Management. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. 466 pp. This is still the best all-around text on proper lawn management. 

Madison, J.H. 1971. Principles of Turf-Grass Culture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. 420 pp. A scholarly text on the anatomy and physiology of turfgrasses and the principles of fertilization and irrigation. 

Nardi, James. 2007. Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press. 293 pp. A very readable introduction to the flora and fauna found, at least we hope they are found, in your soil. 

Schaller, F. 1968. Soil Animals. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 144 pp. A highly entertaining discussion of the usually microscopic invertebrates that live in the soil, without which the planet would be covered with undecomposed garbage. 

Schultz, W. 1989. The Chemical-Free Lawn. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press. 194 pp. An excellent primer on lawn care without synthetic chemical products. 

Stoner, Kimberly. 2011. NOFA Standards for Organic Land Care, Fifth Edition. Stevenson, CT.: Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut. 81 pp. 

Tashiro, H. 1987. Turfgrass Insects of the United States and Canada. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. 391 pp.An excellent source for identifying common lawn insect pests and gaining background on their life cycles and behavior. Color photos show the pests and their damage. 

Tukey, Paul. 2007. The Organic Lawn Care Manual. North Adams, MA.: Storey Publishing. 271 pp. Excellent resource for organic lawn care, from design to installation to enjoyment. Visit their website at

Vargas, J.M., Jr., D. Roberts, T.K. Dannenberger, M. Otto, and R. Detweiler. 1989. “Biological Management of Turfgrass Pests and the Use of Prediction Models for More Accurate Pesticide Applications” in Integrated Pest Management for Turfgrasses and Ornamentals, eds. A.R. Leslie and R.L. Metcalf, pp. 121-126. Washington, D.C.: U.S. EPA. (Available from: GSCAA, 1617 St. Andrews Ave., Lawrence, KS 66046.) In addition to the paper by Vargas et al. documenting the effectiveness of the microbe-enriched organic fertilizers in fighting lawn diseases, this publication also includes research reports on other biological approaches to solving pest problems on lawns.


Chapter 12 Webography

Bio-Integral Resource Center (BIRC).

The home of modern IPM information for home, garden, farm, structures, and community. This is our home site and the main source of the information in both editions of Common-Sense Pest Control.

Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA). 

This website is full of useful information on sustainable gardening, landscaping, farming, and related activities.

Endophyte Lists from the Oregon State University are available at:

This is an excellent place to start your endophytic turfgrass search. 

National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) NTEP is a world-renowned turfgrass research program. 

Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) The “NOFA Standard for Organic Land Care” is an excellent 88-page manual on practices for the design and maintenance of ecological landscapes.

Heavy Metals in Fertilizers This article, and related articles discuss heavy metals in fertilizers.

 Minnesota Department of Health article: “Heavy Metals in Fertilizers”  

California Department of Food and 

Minnesota Department of Agriculture 

Oregon Department of Agriculture (this URL is a search engine) 

Washington State Department of Agriculture 

This Wikipedia article on fertilizers is a good overall summary, but lacks details. 

Organic Consumers Association has information on regulations and actions you can take should you wish to become more deeply involved.


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