Condos, Townhouses, Apartments

Increase your property values! Read about a homeowners association in New York that went organic in 1993. Not only did the community win an award from the governor, going organic also increased the community’s property values.

When It’s Not Entirely Up to You

If you live in a condo, a townhouse, or an apartment, workers with spray trucks and backpack sprayers may be paying regular visits to the property all spring and summer and into the fall, killing weeds and bugs. It can be hard to change the way things are done. But if you want to take on the challenge, here are some tips:

  • Learn. Ask your property-management or landscape-management company for the names of pesticides they apply at your complex. Look up the products’ active ingredients, research their health and environmental risks, and investigate the alternatives. You can start with links on this site.
  • Educate and organize neighbors. Talk to people, distribute fliers, have meetings. Keep it respectful and positive, outlining the risks but emphasizing safer landscaping practices. The fact that children and pets are at increased risk often gets people’s attention.
  • Make a proposal to your homeowners association (HOA) board. Lay out detailed, practical options.
  • Demonstrate support. Encourage residents to write letters, sign petitions, and attend meetings.
  • Anticipate resistance. Know why EPA approval doesn’t mean a pesticide is safe. Be familiar with organic methods of keeping dandelions in check. Be aware that long-term water savings can balance out higher initial costs.
  • Run for office. One vote can make a difference on a small board.
  • Be patient and persistent. A change in mindset can take time.