Lawn in the News
"Study shows that Lawns May Contribute to Global Warming" say the headlines, but the study actually confirms what we all knew – that conventional lawn care is the culprit, not really the turfgrass itself. Findings are summarized in UC Irvine Today:
Turfgrass lawns help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through
photosynthesis and store it as organic carbon in soil, making them
important “carbon sinks.” However, greenhouse gas emissions from
fertilizer production, mowing, leaf blowing and other lawn management
practices are four times greater than the amount of carbon stored by
ornamental grass in parks, a UC Irvine study shows.
Virginia Smith wrote this terrific story about Lawn Reform
– the concept, the Coalition and lots more – in the Philadelphia Inquirer. In my chat with Smith for the article I learned that
she's an ex-lawn gardener herself and confirms that, counter to
urban-suburban legend, she found gardens to be more work than lawns. By far, she
This article in Boston.com proclaims: "Natural and eco-sensitive lawn care is IN." Even Turf Magazine covers the move to organic lawn care and Paul Tukey's SafeLawns campaign. There we learn that Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota and Vermont now have restrictions on "lawn chemical application." And here's Minnesota's info about how to comply.[pdf]
From the golf world we learn that:
The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America has released the results of a nationwide survey of golf courses examining nutrient use and management on golf facilities. The results indicate that superintendents apply fertilizers at rates that fall within the guidelines recommended by university scientists. [Italics added.]
That raises the question: WHICH university scientists and who funds THEM? (But that's a rant for another day.) Here are the findings to read yourself but I'll just note that the survey found, on a less favorable note, that only 64% of nitrogen applied to U.S. golf courses is slow-release; less than half of golf courses have written nutrient plans; and not all of them even have their soil tested. I'm just saying.
Lawn on the Web
The Wild Ones organization has compiled some great information about landscape laws that protect native-plant gardens.
Stuart Robinson offers a rather positive telling of what it takes to maintain synthetic turf but still it serves as fair warning about the work involved.
Found on Sunset Magazine's blog: a Portland lawn-to-border make-over, with step-by-step and how much it costs to do. (Photo right.) Sunset also posted a great rip-out-the-lawn do-over in San Diego.
In the Boston area, Rochelle Greayer posted this story of a front-yard makeover from lawn to garden.
And a gardener in NE Florida sent me these photos of his front-yard ex-lawn make-over. (The top photo in this post is one of them.)
Photo credits: Top photo: State of Minnesota. Lower lawn reduction photo by Janet Loughrey for Sunset.