Dahm leads sessions on creating organic lawns

By Scott Carlson

For Bob Dahm, a self-professed conservationist, creating organic lawns has been a personal passion for nearly 40 years.

This month, Dahm will share his story at the St. Anthony Park Library Association’s Second Thursday forum. Dahm, of Organic Lawns by Lunseth, will discuss how conventional lawns can be replaced with something that requires less water and maintenance and is more climate resilient and aesthetically diverse.

His presentation “Creating Biodiverse Lawns” begins at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 11 at the St. Anthony Park Library, 2245 Como Ave. The library association and the SAP Garden Club are event sponsors.

No registration required. For more information or to request a Zoom link to the program, visit: sapbla.org.

Dahm will also follow up this first presentation with a workshop from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 27. Meet at the library and join Dahm where he’ll lead a field trip to neighborhood lawns near the library and offer practical lawn alternative advice.

Born on a farm in northwest Iowa, Dahm told the Bugle he witnessed what he believed was the adverse role toxic chemical pesticides had on farmers.

“I watched my dad, grandfather and many of their farmer friends die of cancer,” Dahm said. “The prostate cancer rate for my home county was many times greater than the national rate. My brother Pat died of cancer 5 years ago. He was the only one of us seven.”

Years later, Dahm said he was in charge of grounds at a children’s psychiatric hospital and, initially, the playground looked awful “because I refused to apply the toxic chemicals on the children’s play area.”

However, “I started to do organic methods and products on the playground,” Dahm recalled. “After three years, the. playground was looking better than the rest of the grounds that we were treating with conventional chemicals and pesticides and it was easier to maintain.”

Although he had no formal training, Dahm began developing a side interest in organic lawn care, attending organic and sustainable farming workshops and taking what he learned and extrapolating it to lawns and gardens in urban and suburban environments.

“As a result, I developed methods and products that were unconventional but very effective,” Dahm said of his organics lawn care business.

Dahm said he also launched a line of pre-designed pollinator gardens that take areas of problem lawns like a boulevard or deep shade and turn them into an oasis that will regenerate pollinators. That work accounted for about 25 percent of Dahm’s sales last season.

Last December, Dahm sold his organics firm and now works for the new owners, Organic Lawns by LUNSETH.

“I get to focus on my research and help customers achieve a healthy safe yard that keeps kids, pollinators and the environment safe,” he said. 

Scott Carlson is the managing editor of the Bugle.

Photo cutline: Bob Dahm checks out some grasses at research trials.  Photo courtesy of Organic Lawns by LUNSETH.

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