Despite being perfectly well-behaved and never making inappropriate social media posts, the American home lawn is taking a lot of heat these days, and we don’t mean just scorching hot summer temperatures! A quick glance at some leading print and television news mediums will reveal a quite negative spin on traditional turfgrass lawns. “Plant a vegetable garden instead” or “Wildflowers are a better option” are the refrains of many of these lawn-bashing declarations.
Let’s address some of the main concerns of those nay-sayers:
- Claim: Lawns are bad for the environment because they require excessive watering.
Properly managed turfgrass is a net positive for the environment! Turfgrass that has been well maintained will have a deep enough root system to endure some drought conditions. In many parts of the United States, average yearly rainfall is sufficient for turfgrass survival.
- Claim: Common lawn chemicals are dangerous to people and animals.
Any chemical, if used improperly, can be dangerous. Responsible homeowners and turfgrass professionals ALWAYS follow label instructions and wear recommended PPE for best results and safe use. When used properly, these products pose very little risk to humans, pets or wildlife.
- Claim: Home lawns could be better used for growing food.
The reality is that most homeowners are not inclined to grow and properly tend a garden. Understanding soil needs, pest and weed control, and watering are more effort than the average person is willing/able to exert. A turfgrass lawn is comparatively less effort and more manageable for a large percentage of homeowners.