Monday, May 2, 2011

Rethinking American dream of lush green lawns

One of the assumptions many Americans have is that they should have a lush green yard with low cut grass.  These lawn must then be watered, fertilized and mowed on a regular basis. Anything other than grass should be eliminated.  This is not necessarily good for the environment. I remember a horticulturalist commenting that diversity of plants is a sign of a healthy lawn. An article in the StarTribune, "Saving the region's creeks and lakes, one lawn at a time", pointed out how many long held practices for lawn care are actually harmful for the environment.  Lawn mowers actually pollute at a far greater rate than automobiles.

On the  home front, I must confess to considerable anxiety prior to taking out some of the sod in our front yard and planting red twigged dogwood a few years back.  I was the only one on our avenue to take out grass nearby the street and put in other plants. The red twigged dogwood have since thrived in this wet area of our yard.  And my neighbors have even commented on how the like it.

Since plants also do a great job of minimizing rain run off and filtering pollutants, there is a trend toward the development of rain gardens, both on private and commercial properties. These gardens are usually composed of native plants, which require minimal maintenance.

I would encourage all to reconsider the value of a traditional American lawn full of grass.  Go ahead, take out some grass and put in some native plants.  If you're looking for approval, you have mine!

No comments:

Post a Comment