What are herbicides?
Herbicides are weed/plant killers designed to "get rid" of unwanted plants, for example the dandelions in your lawn.
Why shouldn't I use herbicides?
Although herbicides are chemicals designed to kill certain "unwanted" plants, using them introduces another chemical into the storm water system through runoff from your yard and therefore into our watersheds. These chemicals, although possibly helpful in getting rid of weeds in your lawn, may also kill beneficial water plant species called phytoplankton. These small plants provide food source for many fishes and birds. Killing them could affect the entire food chain and disrupt the ecological balance needed to maintain healthy streams and lakes.
What are some alternatives?
Many weeds grow early in the season before the grass has a chance to grow in and crowd them out. If you give the grass proper treatment (see fertilizer section) and mow occasionally, these weeds will eventually die out. Also, most herbicides such as the "weed and feed" fertilizers serve to control only the short lived weeds such as dandelions and will not control crabgrass or goosegrass. The best tactics against weeds are to hoe or pull them up by the root and to keep your grass in great shape so it won't let the weeds have a chance!
Graphic courtesy of LaDEQ.