Garden News: Beware the Big Boxes

The title of this post may be a bit extreme, so let me explain. The big-box stores have a lot to be said for them, but it doesn’t have to make the garden news for most people to realize that their reason for being is the proverbial Bottom Line. They may be involved in their communities and supporters of any number of charitable concerns and so on and so forth, but . . .  People run businesses to make money. Period.

There’s nothing wrong with making money. Everyone needs money. But when you’re dealing with businesses — and this is probably  true the bigger the business is — the more you have to keep their bottom-line attitude in mind. Recently, Susan Harris posted in Garden Rant about the misinformation that Home Depot printed on one of their products that brings this lesson home.

garden newsGarden News: Money Makes Their World Go Around

I’m seeing lots of leaf bags in my neighborhood, like [a] collection from just one neighbor’s yard.  Though I was happy to see they’re made of paper (which is required by my town), a closer look revealed that these bags come with a message about lawn care – a message that’s really, really bad for nearby bodies of water, especially the Chesapeake Bay.

The really, really bad part being, of course: “The healthiest lawns are fed 4 to 5 times a year.” Contrary to what any authoritative, environmentally conscious source recommends, including the  University of Maryland, which follows the now-standard best practice of recommending lawn fertilization ONLY in the fall (in order to prevent run-off of excess nutrients and also over-stimulation of top growth which just leads to extra mowing). (Click here to read the original article.)

So, at the risk of sounding like your father, you can’t be too careful when it comes to trusting anything or anyone. At least when a bottom line is involved.

Shop where you like. Shop where you get the best prices.  Shop where you get the best service. Shop where you can find the best products.  But if you’re an organic gardener or care about your planet, beware. If someone is making money off of something, the pull of the bottom line may over power most other concerns.

Maybe someday it will be different, and that will make more than just the garden news.

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