Are summer turf wars really necessary?

While I was riding my bike to work the other morning, I stopped for a traffic signal to change.  As I was sitting there, I noticed four separate lawn care crews at the intersection, each distinguished by the rumble of their oversized diesel pick-up truck and attached utility trailer filled with mowers, leaf blowers and a litany of other lawn care tools and instruments. It was if reveille had been blown and the competing armies were on the move across the front lines of the summer turf wars.

In all honesty, I have never quite figured out what all the fuss is about regarding having the perfectly manicured lawn. They look so sterile and are hardly natural. You get far more interesting wildlife by “de-sterilizing” it some.

Manicured lawns may be aesthetically pleasing to some, but traditional turf is hardly good for the environment. So much of the crapola we spread, spray, pour, drop, or distribute ends up washing right down our collective storm sewers and right into the local watering holes turning them into yucky and smelly algae blooms.

When I was looking at houses some time back, a realtor told me that one homeowner they knew actually used a carpenter’s level to make sure his grass was neat, tidy, and evenly cut. As my dad used to say, “if it is green it is good.” Thankfully, he never obsessed for the perfect lawn in sure a manner.

Neither have I. Fertilizer or weed killer have been rarely applied to my lawns and then if it must, it had to be organic. I also fail to see the need to drench your yard when dry conditions take place. The grass goes dormant and brown. So what? As soon as the weather turns, it will turn green again.

While lawn care services proliferate the yellow pages, advertising, and other media, most of the time I see the summer turf wars as good money being wasted by consumers on elusive dreams. That money could have been used for something more environmentally friendly and far more productive.

Lastly, instead of hiring a service, maybe more people should get off their duff and get some light exercise taking care of their property. Every little bit helps, particularly in this era of gargantuan soft drinks, super-sized servings, and sugar-coated everything else. Just a thought.

This entry was posted in civics, Climate Change, consumerism, Environment, health, land use, Nature, pollution, seasons and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Are summer turf wars really necessary?

  1. emmageraln says:

    Reblogged this on emmageraln.


  2. I have mixed emotions when it comes to the lawns of our royal estates. I made solid money in high school being a lawn jockey. Teaches a kid some hard work and junk while getting some money to blow on Slurpee’s and Chili Cheese Fritos.

    I can’t fret too hard over dead grass having lived in the 110 degree summers of the South. Folks, the grass is going to die… but once the weeds take over walking outside becomes not so fun when you aren’t fond of always wearing shoes. So spot treating is sometimes a necessary evil.

    My surprise is how many companies are out there, but how shabby things continue to look around town. With so many “pros” out there I would think every greenspace would look like the turf of Yankee Stadium. Imagine having boatloads of doctors in town, but everyone is still sick.

    The one thing that really chaps my hide is when a business has their timed sprinklers hydrating the sidewalks and streets.

    The question I think you are prompting is, couldn’t we make do with less personal yardage? Reduce the cabin in the woods mentality. Ditch the palatial sprawls that were once reserved for Barons and Dukes.


  3. Peg Busard says:

    Guys, I agree 100%. Did you know that Kentucky bluegrass is not suitable for northern lawns? We still keep trying to make it grow. Also, lawn grass will not, repeat not, grow under mature trees. Not. Won’t. Give it up.


  4. I agree! It’s true that yards have function…like throwing around the football or giving kids places to play. But in that regard, barefoot children shouldn’t have to tread lightly on pesticide-ridden golf-course lawns. Instead, use less pesticide, water sparingly, and/or introduce more landscaping (with native plants!). More landscaping means less mowing!


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