Very interesting book! It covered more aspects of lawn care than I expected that it would.
I went to relay for life Friday night, and as I was reading the section about all the health affects associated with different chemicals, I couldn’t help but think “no wonder we are all dying of cancer.” When the author was going into detail about tracing chemical residues, and how they were found in house dust, I got really grossed out. I was always aware of run-of, and residues on vegetables and what not, but there was something more disturbing about the thought of chemicals just chilling in house dust…
The most interesting point in the book for me was when it was talking about the neighbors and their responses to some of the questions involving their lawn care practices. It is odd that they won’t let their kids go play on the lawn after a treatment, but they seem to deny that there is any real harm to the environment.
I feel that since it is mostly the highly educated people that practice intensive lawn care management, that it should be possible to institute an education program in order to stop these practices — although I’m sure big companies like Scotts would go crazy if that started to happen. I never thought about all of the economic problems that these companies were having. In fact, the description of the lawn care companies problems reminded me a lot about the pharmaceutical companies and their efforts to keep up with expiring patents and what not.
As far as my experience with lawn care:
As a teenager, I was responsible for mowing our grass along with two neighbors grass (I got paid for the neighbors’ grass 🙂 ). I really enjoyed doing the and work and I can admit that I experienced a sense of pride over it. It was important for me to make sure that the mow lines were straight and that I didn’t miss any tufts. I remember comparing my handy work to that of the other neighbors. I guess, thinking back on it, the drive to have a nice lawn really was sort of a contest between neighbors.
During my sophomore year in high school, my family moved to a new house down the street. The lawn was really low and tended to get very boggy when it rained. My father ordered several truck loads of filling soil and started to level out the lawn. I remember how meticulous he was over the way the grass sloped. He would say to me “do you see the way this section is slopping?” I would nod having no idea what he was talking about. Then he would say something like “I’m going to have to rework this”. And he would. He spend the whole summer just playing with the new dirt in the yard and imagining what it would look like when it was planted. Now, he and my step-mother are consistently watering and patrolling for weeds. As the botanist of the family, I consistently get questions like “What is this?” “Can I rake this out yet?” “why is this dying”. An I am also always correcting their watering habits: “stop watering in the middle of the day!”
While my family isn’t really in to using chemicals, my father spot treats on occasion and I have even caught my step mother manually pulling out some of the more nasty “weeds”.
As an intern at Cleveland Botanical Gardens and Holden Arboretum, I was also exposed to the crazy world of lawn people. On one hand, Cleveland Botanical Gardens was more intensive but used more organic types of fertilizers. On a few occasions I was sent out with some round up to take care of unwanted plants. Interestingly, we always transferred some round-up to an unmarked container so that the visitors couldn’t really tell what I was doing. On another note, Cleveland Botanical Garden was doing research on no mow grasses. One of the workers has planted his back yard full of this stuff. Apparently, the local law enforcement officers where harassing him about it. However, after learning what it was, they had several surveyors come out and take pictures in order to promote this no mow option.
Well, I think I have written a book here, but I find the topic to be very interesting and I have had a lot of experience dealing with lawns in many different forms. It should be a fun discussion!