Pesticides in our yards are chemicals used to control pests like weeds, fungus and insects, but healthy yards don't need dangerous chemical pesticides.

Reasons to eliminate pesticides from your yard.

Much of a pesticide application does not reach its actual target; it ends up in our soil and waterways, harming humans and killing other organisms and wildlife.

  • Pesticides in our drinking water and can be harmful to our health. Officials regularly test public water supplies for certain pesticides. Information on these tests is available from your local water company.

  • Pesticides are especially dangerous to children, who take in more relative to their body weight than adults; their developing bodies are more vulnerable.

  • Pesticides are toxic to local wildlife which also cause food source contamination.

  • Pesticides are killing our pollinators and the insects that support them.

  • Many canine cancers are linked to pesticides.

Learn more Lawn and Garden Pesticides Fact Sheet

What You Can Do

  • Check the products you're buying and speak to your landscaper about their products. Don't accept a generic answer -- ask for the name of the product and its active ingredients. See 30 Commonly Used Lawn Pesticides and Commonly Asked Questions About Lawn Care.

  • When shopping for plants in nurseries, whether you’re purchasing native plants or traditional ornamentals, ask for organic plants or those that have not been treated with pesticides. Indicate that this is important to you and you will not purchase those that have been treated.

  • Support nurseries that do sell pesticide-free plants, especially when they introduce them to their product mix for the first time.

  • Ask those in charge whether their suppliers use pesticides and avoid those plants.

  • Ask about the nursery’s pest management practices, and look for evidence of good practices. Growers can use yellow sticky strips to catch pests, specialized plants that repel pests, others that attract and trap pests. Diseased plants can be isolated. Chemicals should always be a last resort.

  • Engage nursery growers in an on-going conversation on this issue. Be respectful, complimentary of what they are doing well, and support good practices with your purchases.

Dangers of Neonicotinoids

Neonicotinoids, often called neonics, are a type of pesticide that makes the entire plant poisonous to pollinators, wildlife and humans.

Neonicotinoids include clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam

Others: Flupyradifurone, Cyantraniliprole

  • Neonics are “systemic,” they enter all parts of the plant so that the plant itself becomes toxic.

  • Neonics contaminate and persist in soil, air, water—killing creatures that live in the ground, killing fresh-water fish, contaminating the air we breathe.

  • Neonics are pervasive in the environment: they’re used in agriculture but also in lawns, home gardens, pet products, and commercial landscaping; plants in nurseries are often treated with them.


  • Neonics are banned with limitations in EU, completely in France, and Canada is moving to ban them. U.S. EPA has recently re-approved their use.

  • New York State has announced a five year moratorium on neonics, but that doesn’t include neonic-treated seeds for agriculture; legislators are working on actual legislation to limit their use.

  • A report by Cornell University Extension Service indicates that use of neonic-treated seeds has no beneficial impact on farmers and that safer alternatives are available for plant nurseries.