Monday, April 7, 2008

Get Those Yellow Flags Off The Lawn!

Ah, spring. The hydrangeas are budding back to life, the groundcover in our stretch of Rock Creek Park behind the dog park is afire with Spring Beauty and Lesser Celandine. Our community garden has a burgeoning crop of arugula and tender lettuce shoots setting forth. Our cherry tree is about to bloom! The kids are crawling all over the playground and picking everything in sight on our walk home from school. Skipping, picking 'onions' and teeny-tiny little white and purple flowers from the middle of a sea of...yellow pesticide application flags. Cr*p.

Honey? You have to get off that grass right now! There are chemicals all over it. Put the tiny flowers down now, ok, honey? We have to go wash your hands. Sigh. I know my kid shouldn't be walking on the front lawn of our neighbors' apartment buildings, much less harvesting weeds from their green space. But I do wish that more landlords and homeowners would follow in the footsteps of the National Mall and head down the organic lawn path.

A friend of mine recently asked about resources for greening her lawn, both literally and ecologically. While our home has a cherry tree and a bricked-in patio, not a vast green lawn, a thread on DC Urban Gardeners recently suggested the following resources: SafeLawns.org and Pogo Organics. You can also read about efforts to stop pesticide use more broadly at Beyond Pesticides.

See you down at the Mall to tiptoe through the (chemical-free) tulips! (Don't worry, we only pick weeds....)

4 comments:

Burbanmom said...

Great post! I HATE that in my suburban neighborhood, life is all about having the "greenest" lawn. And by green, I mean totally chemical covered, fertilized, mowed with a gas mower, watered with drinking water and blown with a leaf blower. YUCK!

amy t sharp said...

We have lawns like this everywhere and I freak when I see them- i think WHY???? Our lawn is the uglies in the neighborhood and I love it :) Just found yr site- woo woo!!!!

Laura said...

Hey Mamabird -- Mark and I fight this fight every year. He says we need to plant grass to slow erosion of our sloping backyard. I say -- let the moss take over. It's pretty, you CAN'T kill the stuff, don't have to fertilize it. I mean, geez man, we live back in the woods where no one sees our lawn unless they drive up our long driveway. I just sent him this:
http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/turf/430-536/430-536.html

The part about growing a moss garden is about halfway down the page.

This working on the yard, fighting weeds, mowing and maintaining a green lawn: Is it a Man-Thing? Some warrior spirit deep within that loves the battle? It just ain't natch'ral, these bright green squares of grass they love so much.

Gruppie Girl said...

Thank you!

I hate this time of year and all of the horrible pesticides that it brings with it.

As for ugly lawns, mine usually looks pretty good. I use composted dirt to fill in the holes, an organic 4-step program and water from my rain barrel.

Here is a sad lawn fertilizer story...When I was in labor I walked up and down the street with hubby. During contractions I would run to the lawns without harmful pesticides to rest.