Lawns — what are they good for? They provide a playground for sports activities and a place for a picnic table. But beyond that, I can’t think of a thing they’re good for. On the other hand, caring for a lawn is expensive, laborious, noisy and typically unhealthy not only for the caretaker, but also the inhabitants — human or otherwise — within the vicinity.
As mentioned in an earlier post, based on 2009 USEPA data, Americans spend about $20 billion a year on lawn care. Because the grasses that make up our typical lawns are alive, they grow. They grow taller, and we need it short so we can play on it, so we mow the lawn. Then we fertilize and water to keep it from going dormant, and then we mow it again when it grows taller – a never-ending cycle.
According to Megan Garber, “the seeds for most of the turf grasses that carpet the surface of the U.S.—your Kentucky blues (originally, actually, from Europe and northern Asia), your Bermudas (originally from Africa), your Zoysias (originally from East Asia), your hybrids thereof—are generally not native to the U.S. Which means that, while the grasses can certainly survive here, they will probably not, on their own, thrive…To maintain a lawn is—or, more specifically, has been—to pay fealty to the future we are forging, together.”
Having said that, my husband and I have some lawn (along with a prairie, a wooded area and many very large old trees) that we mow once a week for 75 minutes with a thatching lawn tractor at 3 inches to keep the weeds down. To lessen the fealty, we don’t use fertilizer and we don’t water. Our yard is an island within a small subdivision of mowed lawns. I can’t wait until winter when the deafening sound of four or five mowers all going at the same time ceases. We’d convert our lawn to no-mow, but for the need to join the chorus!