Your Perfect Lawn Makes Me Sick

Every day I drive the carpool to school and we drive past lots of yards.  Some have gardens, some have bushes, some have scraggly grass, some have grass with brown spots, but a couple are absolutely, perfectly green. They don’t have any weeds, no dandelions, not one blade is out of place and they are a very bright green.  These lawns make me feel ill every time I drive by.

Why? Why does a perfectly manicured lawn make me feel sick? I almost feel like it’s the creepy start of a horror movie. Then I see a perfect lawn that has little yellow flags on it. Those little flags say that you shouldn’t walk on the lawn for two days. Do you ever wonder why you shouldn’t walk on the lawn for two days? Perhaps you know.  Perhaps you know that those flags mean that chemicals have been put on the lawn and those chemicals are toxic to humans.

If they’re toxic to humans, aren’t they toxic to birds and squirrels and other animals? In our area I see bunnies, chipmunks, geese and even wild turkeys walking around yards.  They’re also toxic to weeds – that’s pretty much the point of the chemicals.  The labels brag about being able to get rid of dandelions. 2015-06-20 10.58.06 Recently I learned that dandelions are “first foods” for bees.  That means they come out and have nectar and pollen before many other flowers are available.  Bees depend on dandelions and other “weeds” to get them started after a long winter and to hold them over until our gardens are in full bloom.

Do you have gardeners that help with your yard? Do you know what products they use on your yard? Do you take care of your yard yourself? Do you know what is in the products you use on your lawn? Why is it necessary for them to use something that is so toxic to human health that they have to put up warning signs to keep off?

You or your gardener may be using a product called Round Up with an active ingredient called “glyphosate.” Recently, Round Up was banned by the country of France for sale to consumers. This product has been linked to increased cancer rates. Is that something that you want to risk to keep your yard perfect? Perhaps you don’t have children running through your grass, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be concerned about a product that causes cancer being used around your house.

Have you noticed that these signs used to be everywhere at large institutions such as universities, hospitals, large properties, but now they’re uncommon. Many large organizations have realized that it is not necessary to use herbicides and pesticides to maintain their lawns and frankly, it’s not worth the risk.

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Natural lawn with dandelions in the front and some mix of grasses.

Personally, I find that a perfectly manicured one color, one plant, lawn looks unnatural to me. You never see anything like that out in nature. Lawns with variation in color with the occasional dandelion, with Clover, are much more interesting and pleasant to look at. They also tell me that the owner is more interested in our planet than perfect appearances. I have to confess, I’ve started to judge people based on the appearance of their yards and if yours is perfect and bright green, the judgement isn’t good.

Happy Greening,

Alicia

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Comments

  1. Southern Californian here– we have the drought tolerant stuff and let it do its own thing, and are planning on replacing the lawn altogether in front with native plants. It’s all “brown is the new green” here. 🙂

  2. I agree, it’s good to see a bit on ‘naturalness’ in lawns – a few weeds and odd patches here and there never hurt anyone!

    • Thanks Clarissa! In another context I had a neighbor comment to me about how he acts like a good neighbor by working hard to keep his yard looking nice. Later I saw him putting Round Up on the border between our houses. Since he and I disagree on just about everything, I decided that it wasn’t worth my time to comment on the chemical. -Alicia

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