Lawn People (Ch 5-8)

  • Many products are deemed necessary to keep up ones lawn. But how many of these are truly unnecessary?
  • The production of a lawn mower has a huge negative impact on the environment (aside from the fact that the lawn mower itself while in use emits high levels of pollutants that cause smog–5% of air pollution). All it’s parts are made in different parts of the world. And when brought together to construct the final product petroleum and raw minerals are used.
  • For the companies who work with pesticides–they know that each new pesticide will need about 10 years to show profit after it is made, and then it shall only last for 20 years overall, before the stuff it’s supposed to kill grows resistant.
  • In a study about the use of chemicals on lawns they found: when homeowners apply their own high input suit of chemicals-there is no significant difference than those who applied no chemicals at all. And professional applicants fared only somewhat better. (this is according to levels of dandelions, ground ivy, and buckhorn). If there seems to be no real change at least according to this study why do we apply these chemicals in the first place?
  • 57% males and 11% females between ages 14 and 17 who work outside have been exposed to pesticides and other chemicals in work. They are handling potential toxic substances during key years of physiological development with ramifications that may last for the rest of their lives.
  • Contrary to popular belief, higher education test to coincide with higher use of lawn chemicals. Why?
  • People who claim an interest in what is going on around their neighborhood, and who tend to be able to list a greater number of their neighbors by name, are far more likely to use lawn chemicals.
  • Even people who are concerned of the use of chemicals on their lawns (especially in relation to pets, children and environment) still use lawn chemicals. These anxieties do little to curb behavior. Excuse – trust in experts, hectic lives which leave little time to worry about lawn chemicals.
  • There are alternatives to using chemicals and pesticides on one’s lawn: Planing new communities–native species who tend to be low-maintenance (because they are evolved to suit that environment), resist weeds, and attract birds and other wildlife. Some of these species may be of the nut, fruit or berry tree producing quality, a way to make “edible landscapes”. Clover (considered the bane for lawn managers since the mid-century) usually requires minimal watering and no mowing. It is cheep, comfortable underfoot, and evergreen. Unlike turf-grass it actually restores soil health through nitrogen fixation. Moss is another alternative a lot like clover.
  • Under IPM, pests are tolerated to a point and actions are taken for control of insects or weeds only after their numbers and effects become unacceptable.
  • In a servery on alternative methods of lawn use, 39% of Americans say they use some form of non-chemical control (hand-weeding, new cultivars etc) 33% replaced some portion of lawn with another ground altogether. 11% have eaten wild species, especially dandelions; off their lawns.
  • The Wildlife Habitat Program, has worked to encourage and protect homeowners who seek to attract wildlife to their yards through landscape alternatives.
  • In virtually every municipality in the US homeowners are required by law to cut their grass on a regular basis and keep the property in a “neat and clean” manner, usually setting a maximum lawn height of six to eight inches. Cities will generally fine violations of such laws, cutting the grass of those who do not follow such rules and charging them for time and expenditures.
  • One couple’s efforts to allow tropical jungle plants to return to their Madeira Beach, FL, yard-along with fruit trees, shade, and birds, butterflies and insects. Won them a xeriscape award for their water district governing board. City officials, on the other hand, described the concomitant “nuisance plants” and ” dead-undergrowth” as potential habitat for rats and mice, resulting in threats to sue homeowners.
  • Home deeds commonly contain provisions disallowing landscape changes without the consent of homeowner associations.

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