Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Question - Are Green Lawns Really Green? by Morgan Mandel

Going green has caught on more lately. People realize lots of things they've been doing are not good for their health, their neighborhood, and the planet.

Some readers go green by reading ebooks instead of those made with paper. In that way, they protect trees from being cut down. That's a great idea to help the environment.

Veering off the writing subject, I always shake my head when I look at my neighbor's yard. He's obsessed with his lawn and also hates trees. He cut down perfectly healthy elms and maples for no apparent reason, except that their leaves fell in the fall and the shade fell on his perfect lawn.

When we were gone on vacation in September last year, we came back to find a great portion of the grass along the edge of our side of the fence had turned yellow, where it had been perfectly healthy before we'd left. We happened to notice the yellow not only extended along our side of the fence, but also in a pattern on our neighbor's side. Not only that, another yellow pattern had appeared along the other edge of his lawn. It was clear that in our absence, he'd sprayed a chemical designed not only to kill weeds, but also other living vegetation, so he could then roto-till his yard and plant new grass. When confronted by the DH, our neighbor admitted to doing so and proceeded to complain about the wheels from our maple tree in the front yard falling on his property.

His lawn is perfectly green and groomed, but at what price? We have a dog who can't use the toilet inside like we do and depends on going into our yard which had been sprayed with chemicals. This makes me uneasy.

What also makes me uneasy are the people who spread chemicals on their lawns and leave no little flags up as warnings. Not only that, they litter the sidewalk with the chemicals when they spread them, instead of sweeping them up. Even if we keep the dog off the chemical filled lawns, she still has to walk on sidewalks where her paws touch chemicals. That can't be good for her or other dogs.

Children are playing in parks even when signs are posted saying chemicals have been sprayed or spread. Is that good for them?

So, I ask you, are green lawns really the way to go green? What's your opinion?
Also, do any of you know of non-chemical ways to prevent dandelions and other weeds other then bending down and digging or picking them up? Please share.

Morgan Mandel - if you like this post, check out my Are You Cutting Back post today at


Anonymous said...

Perfect little manicured green lawns are indicative of the crewcut beurocratic mindset of the owner. If you want to go green, go with natural ground coverings. And there is nothing wrong with dandelions. They are beautiful and the leaves make good greens for eating, both cooked and in salads.

Unknown said...

I know people like that, people who look at me and shake their heads when I say I like dandelions. They're FLOWERS...pretty yellow flowers. Why would you want to kill them?
This blog just makes me prouder of the six trees my husband and I planted in our backyard last week. And the fact that we're a little lax on the lawn mowing. Longer grass makes cleaner air!!

Gayle Carline said...

My ex-husband was a maniac about the lawn. My current hubby, not so much. I don't think we should be delineating weeds/flowers/etc. They're flora. Period. Keep them from overgrowing the sidewalks and the doorways, but leave them alone.

Of course, this is from the person who can only grow the stuff other people don't want. Read here:


Deb Larson said...

Hi Morgan:
Good comments on going green. I do have to state that dandelions are weeds and will choke out other more likeable plants if left on their own. They will suck up the water supply quicker than you can water the good plants. So although dandelion leaves can be used for salads, etc. - they need to be young and fresh - not the ones with the grey fluff. They tend to be bitter - but blended with other salad greens(after a good washing!!) they are edible.
This farm girl works too hard to keep the "real" beauties flourishing (like flowers and shrubs)to let the dandelions full reign.
DL Larson