Got this envelope in the mailbox today:
It reads: “Address lawn threats now. Love your lawn this summer”
But here is my translation:
“address” and “love” = POISON.
“lawn threats” = WEEDS / WILDFLOWERS
According to the offer inside this envelope, a crew will come to my yard and periodically “address” all “threats,” which means they will kill all weeds, but leave the grass.
This is how to love to my lawn?
I have a better plan:
- What if I love my lawn by not pouring herbicides on it, by not poisoning the watershed and by not interrupting the foodweb?
- What if I mow less often and with a higher blade? What if I let spring ephemerals go to seed before I mow at all?
- What if I leave in place the diverse mosaic of yard weeds that can actually feed beneficial invertebrates which in turn feed birds and other wildlife?
- What if my Carolina chickadees actually find enough caterpillars to feed their young this year? (Adults eat seeds, but only feed insects to babies.)
- And what if I don’t buy into the Cult of Lawn that says a smooth, monoculture of exotic lawn grasses is the only ideal? Even “Kentucky bluegrass” isn’t native to the U.S. Exotic grasses do not function deep and wide. They hold down the dirt, but that’s about it.
Most of my neighbors have lawn services that don’t just mow and trim: they apply herbicides several times per year to destroy everything but turf; they apply pesticides to kill “lawn grubs” (which kills all invertebrates); they apply pesticides against mosquitos, bees, wasps; and they apply fertilizers.
None of these things are necessary.
All of these things roll off one lawn to the next one downstream.
We ALL live upstream or downstream from each other in a shared watershed. What you do in your yard affects mine, and what I do affects yours. This is true even if the only water we see is in a storm drain at the curb.
These lawn services are killing us.
National Wildlife Federation’s “At Home” page: Designing Your Wildlife Garden.
Why Native Plants Matter (Audubon Society).