Tuesday, July 20, 2010

University greens are under attack

The great lawn controversy continues. According to a post on Garden Rant some of our oldest, most bad-ass university greens are under scrutiny-some are getting ripped out, some are allowed to go dormant and others are getting replaced with meadows and other "low maintenance" gardens.

In the last decade, lawns have been excessively demonized. It's one of those things that is easily attacked, I think because it is easily seen. You have a lawn? Do you realize you are consorting with the devil?

I like lawns. Yes, I am aware that they often require lots of water, fertilizer, gasoline and labor. So does all gardening. After Duke University ripped out some of their lawn and replaced it with a native meadow they realized after a few years that not only did the meadow look crummy after it bloomed but that it was becoming over run with invasive species that would require a bus load of laborers to weed and maintain properly. Not to mention, what the heck are the frisbee golfers to do? Scramble for a pass through itchy, snake ridden weeds?

I don't think our universities should be forced to give up the beauty and ease of lawns to fulfill the latest environmental fad. Sometimes being green means just easing up a little on the water and the fertilizer. Let it go dormant in summer when the kids are on break. Mow it a little less. Enhance the soil. Take out the under-utilized areas and replace them with small manageable gardens.

Let's use some common sense and realize that grass is actually not the enemy so that we can get back to the lacrosse game without being riddled with guilt.

for more: http://www.gardenrant.com/my_weblog/2010/07/lawnsoncampus.html


  1. Well I have to say I agree with many of your points. I do love a lawn...a responsible (organic fertilizer sparingly applied) one. I wouldn't give my small patch up. Although it's more clover and moss than actual lawn, and I use a reel mower. And don't even get me started on the dormant dandelion infested messes that are taking over Portland this time of the year. Now that I could rant about. So so so ugly.

  2. It's so easy for people to jump on the anti-anything bandwagon these days. It seems like everything is bad bad bad.

    (My least favorite time of year gardening in Portland is late summer-burnt tips on everything, spiderwebs, powdery mildew!)

  3. I really detest lawn. I eliminated mine 15 years ago. The number of birds & insect in my garden has soared. But I always tell my clients that lawns require the least maintenance.