Tuesday, July 22, 2008

'Green' lawns, not green?

Here is a fascinating article I found on WorldChanging.com which I discovered through the Sierra Club magazine. Its about how the American ideal of that perfect, crabgrass-free lawn is more unsustainable than first apparent.

Kill Your Lawn!

Personally, I lived in Arizona for many years and we never had any grass, and I never wanted any grass. I come from a family of farmers, gardeners, and landscapers, and both my Grandfather and my Mother managed golf courses at some point in their lives. I used to go to work with my mom on the golf course in AZ, and it was a little appalling to see all that water pouring out of sprinklers onto green green grass, when there was a dry river bed not 100 yards away. Here in Maryland, much of what I remember as crops and dairy farms as a kid is now part of a huge network of sod farms that covers Frederick and Montgomery counties. I have to wonder what good growing all that grass does for anyone, except the guy (Coughahem, Chuck Wade) who is selling all that sod. And the guys he pays to mow it, maybe.
Anyway, my mom's house in AZ is all native plants that were growing there before the house was built (you can't remove some of them anyway, because they are protected. Go Saguaros!) and a couple of really nice fruit trees, oranges, apricots, and a large garden. Of course in AZ, growing food requires actual watering more than it would here in MD, but still, its better than 2.5 acres of useless grass! I live in a townhouse and have a postage stamp sized lawn that never requires watering due to our geographic location, and I wouldn't water it anyway, even if it all shriveled up and died. I really would like a veggie garden, but the topography of my postage stamp would require a lot of leveling and terracing to make that work, and then there'd be no where for the dog to do her business. So I'll just stick with my low maintenance lawn care for now.

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