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A Well-Stocked Hardware Store
To assist local garden centers and hardware stores in transitioning their customers to holistic lawn care practices, Beyond Pesticides has crafted the “Well-Stocked Hardware Store,” which provides the products and tools necessary to support a move to healthy, organic landscapes. This guide fits in with Beyond Pesticides’ Model Pesticide Policy and Implementation Plan for Communities, but can be used independently for hardware stores looking to encourage the use of products and practices that protect the health of their customers, community, and the wider environment.
Since a systems approach to lawn care puts a focus on cultural practices, a critical part of ensuring customers are able to implement safer methods in their yards is providing them with the right tools to get the job done. For all watering equipment, carry products that are of high quality and free of unnecessary toxic chemicals, like BPA and lead.
Shovels, Trowels, and Soil Probes: Most garden and hardware stores already carry shovels and trowels, and brands aren’t all that important. Sell a variety of sizes and types, making certain they are sturdy, and long-lasting. Carrying soil probes is critical as they are the best tool available for collecting soil samples. Avoid carrying tools that are brass, bronze, or galvanized as they can contaminate soil samples with copper and/or zinc.
Dethatching Rake: Thatch on a lawn reduces its ability to absorb water and nutrients. Although customers shouldn’t need a dethatching rake if their lawn is healthy, the tool can be a helpful component of a transition from over fertilized, chemically treated turf to natural practices. Offer stand-alone thatching rakes for customers with small to medium sized yards. Also sell motorized dethatchers like Greenworks electric dethatcher, and consider keeping a few large, commercial dethatchers available to rent.
Soil Moisture Meter: Encourage your customers to water only when necessary by selling soil moisture meters. Luster Leaf sells a number of different soil moisture meters.
Sprinklers: Customers should take into account the area they are watering, soil type, and rate of water flow when deciding upon a sprinkler. Impulse sprinklers water a large area slowly, while oscillating and rotary sprinklers deliver water faster. Assist customers by carrying a variety of different types of sprinklers.
Hoses: Most plastic green garden hoses have been shown to contain harmful chemicals like phthalates, BPA, and lead. Avoid stocking those hoses completely by opting for others made with quality material, like high-grade rubber and laminated filament.
Watering Can: Carry a range of both metal and plastic cans to fit everyone’s budget. Try to be as open and honest as possible about whether the products could contain toxic contaminants.
Rain Barrels: Rain barrels are a great way for customers to save on their watering costs throughout the hot summer months. Carry variety of different sized barrels and make sure they’re made of food grade plastic and UV-protectants to prevent algae growth. The Great American Rain Barrel Company and the Spruce Creek Rainsaver are good examples of the many rain barrels available on the market.