Lawns, Gardens, & Water

"When they eat plastic for dinner, so do you." By Bob Gilbert, SGC Member, at Hopkinton's Art on the Trail, 2021

Sustainable Green Committee recommends alternatives to herbicides for treating unwanted lake plant growth

In March 2024, the committee recommended that herbicides not be used on Lake Maspenock - read the full statement here, which includes a list of resources for further reading about the topic. 

PFAS (forever chemicals)

As detected in 2022, some of Hopkinton's wells contain levels of PFAS that are higher than the state mandated level. Some private wells have also shown higher than recommended levels for PFAS. See Products for more information about the levels and what you can do.

No mow May and beyond

Not mowing your lawn in May has two key benefits:

This flyer provides more details.

Some side benefits are reduced carbon emissions from not mowing and a saving you some time!

After May, don't stop caring - there's more you can do! This is a great summary of what you can do. There are many resources on this page to help with any step you take. You can't do them all at once - pick something and try it.

Native and pollinator-friendly plants

If there aren't enough pollinators or they don't have enough food, we don't have enough food. Bees and other pollinators have faced declining populations due to habitat loss, non-native plants, and toxic chemicals. Here's some information on how you can help restore a sound pollinator population.

Use pollinator-friendly plants and reconstruct yards to native habitats

Using native plants

Where to get native plants

Organic lawn practices

Turfgrasses, like all other green plants, must carry on the process of photosynthesis in order to survive and grow. Close mowing reduces the amount of leaf area available for photosynthesis and in turn may reduce plant vigor. As cutting height is reduced, lawns become less tolerant of environmental stresses and more prone to invasion by weeds than lawns maintained at a higher cutting height.

The root systems of grasses generally become shorter and less prolific as cutting height is reduced. Although a closely cut lawn can be maintained successfully, the shorter root system will result in a need for more frequent watering and fertilization to compensate for reduced ability to obtain water and nutrients from the soil. Therefore, it is desirable to maintain your lawn at the highest cutting height that looks good and is acceptable for the intended use of the turf.

Tips for organic lawns

From the University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension Turf Program, NOFA (Northeast Organic Farming Association), Weston Nurseries, and more

Order seed online (just search for where to buy it and you'll see numerious places)

These may make their way into your lawn - keep them!

Plants to replace lawns

Poverty oat grass (Danthonia spicata) 

Flattened oat grass (Danthonia compressa)

Avoid using toxic pesticides

New York and Connecticut laws eliminate those pesticides marketed by the agrochemical industry and approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to kill dandelions, clover, grubs, and other ‘enemies' of farms, lawns, and gardens. 

Of the commonly used toxic chemicals listed on the ingredients label of your homeowner bought lawn and garden pesticide products,  2-4D, Dicamba, Paraquat, Glyphosate, Neonicotinoids, and Organophosates (i.e. Chlorpyrifos) some are banned in the European Union and/or listed by the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer as possible human carcinogens.

Studies of commonly marketed neurologically harming pesticides such as organophosates and neonicotinoids used to impair insects have found they are contributing to the rise in autism and ADHD in children, as well as insect biocide, as covered in this article in The Intercept

Lawn care services that serve Hopkinton and purport to be non-toxic are Pure Solutions and Safer Lawns - note that the SGC has not vetted these services and would welcome feedback on how environmentally friendly they are in practice. Remember, less lawn and more native plants will always be better than maintained lawn, as described earlier on this page.

has led to many serious problems including far fewer birds

Mosquito and tick control

Toxic pesticides in public places and public action you can take

State law

Hopkinton's data for Insect Pest Management plans

Discourage Artificial Turf Fields

What else you can do

Maintaining our natural spaces

Keeping our land green captures carbon from the air, houses wildlife, and provides a respite for us. These organizations work on the mission and are often looking for volunteers.

Town committees include: Conservation Commission, Open Space Preservation Committee, Trail Coordination and Management Committee, and Upper Charles Trail Committee

These are the private groups in town: