Anthrax paranoia spreads to lawn care

Harvard University landscapers warned students of fertilizer and lime work this week, seeking to allay potential concerns about white powder spread over Harvard lawns.

"Signs were put up as a precaution because of what happened in the last few months," South Yard Landscape Services supervisor Paul Smith said. "They were intended to calm peoples' nerves, so people don't jump to conclusions when they see some white stuff on the ground."

Landscapers have also taken the extra precaution of clearing walkways with blowers to prevent small piles of fertilizer from building up. The white fertilizer pellets are spread by a wheeled hopper.

Similar signs have appeared in the past, Smith said, but only when required by law when pesticides were sprayed. Joe Rebeiro, Supervisor of the Main Yard, added that building managers and supervisors are usually informed of impending lawn treatment, but there usually isn't an effort to make the student body aware.

The River House lawns were fertilized Wednesday, while the Yard was treated two days ago. The Quad is scheduled for either Friday or Monday, provided that the weather remains fair.

The signs are put up immediately after treatment, and will remain for 24 to 48 hours.

"We didn't want people to jump to conclusions that there was something there that wasn't supposed to be. We wouldn't have put these signs up if the events of Sept. 11 hadn't taken place," Smith said.

Source: Harvard Crimson/U-WIRE

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