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GREENING YOUR LAWN The Grass Can Be Greener on Your Side of the Fence by Teri Kent

Did you know that currently Americans tend more than 40 million acres of grass lawn — both residential and commercial — and apply about 90 million pounds of pesticides and herbicides on those lawns each year according to the EPA? “We associate a lush green lawn with vitality, but in many ways a grass lawn is the most sterile part of a garden,” Scientific American’s Ferris Jabr recently wrote in a blog post entitled “Outgrowing the Traditional Grass Lawn.” Weed-free, flowerless grass lawns are actually “wastelands for native pollinators.” In addition, the group Beyond Pesticides examined 30 common yard pesticides and found that 24 are toxic to fish and aquatic organisms, 16 are toxic to birds and 11 are deadly to bees. Ultimately, the negative consequences of our obsession with pristine grass lawns seem to far outweigh the benefits. So before you reach for the Weed & Feed this spring, consider some alternatives. You can create a better, “greener” yard that can provide the makings of a feast for your family and local wildlife like bees, butterflies and birds (but hopefully not deer). Your biggest decision is whether you want to keep your lawn, reduce it or replace it altogether.


In his book “Redesigning the American Lawn,” author F. Herbert Bormann invented the term “freedom lawn” to describe a lawn that is less labor intensive and less chemical dependent. Sarah Frazer of Cville Foodscapes offers this advice on having a chemical-free lawn: “Lawns that need the most maintenance and chemicals are the ones that aren’t really compatible to our region. Regionally adapted grasses are going to be the lowest maintenance and are going


April 2014

CharlottesvilleFamily April 2014  

Volume 15 Issue 4

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