Mackenthun: Lawn care takes away from time spent doing fun things | local sports
Have you heard of “No Mow May?”
Entomologists and beekeepers have popularized the “no-mow May” trend through outreach activities, and Minnesotans choose not to mow their lawns in May to help pollinators find food sources.
Blooming Dandelions and Creeping Charlie are finally adopted!
Some people like to maintain a lawn. They are obsessed with lush green grass, covet perfectly straight mowing lines, and are consumed by keeping their law free of weeds. They want the best lawn in the neighborhood.
Lawns, according to Wikipedia, were popularized in the aristocracy in Europe from the Middle Ages. Lawns were a display of status and wealth and were maintained by laborers and cattle.
When the mechanical lawn mower was invented, the middle class could afford and maintain lawns. I guess this is the historical point that I was able to identify where lawns became a social norm in our country.
Americans brought seeds of Old World grasses with them when they settled the East Coast.
Homeownership has exploded, as has the lawn care industry. Kentucky bluegrass spread everywhere, and lawn care was considered a leisure activity for the American public.
I’m not obsessed with the lawn. Most outdoorsy people don’t.
I joined “No-Mow May” not so much for the bees as because I don’t want to give up my free time for a chore.
I don’t fertilize or water my lawn because I don’t want it to grow any more than it already does. Then I would have to mow it more, wasting more free time!
The very idea of lawns to me is stupid. For some people, the lawn is their hobby.
For me, it’s a nuisance. I just have better things to do with my time, but I can respect those whose lawns are their hobby.
Heck, some agriculture-oriented universities offer degrees in turf management. I guess most graduates work on golf courses, but there may be people who just love tending to the short grass…over and over again.
The “have better things to do with my time” argument is lodged in my head after seeing a few rural properties, measured in acres and miles, that are regularly mown in what I suspect must take hours.
There’s a county road I take to get to work where the nearest landowner used to mow the right-of-way, half a mile in either direction from his driveway.
I’m not talking about using a tractor with a mower and then raking and baling hay for the cattle. I’m talking about someone sitting on a lawn tractor, cutting 2-3 inches every week, and encouraging Kentucky Kentucky bluegrass to leave the lawn and thrive in the ditch.
It’s a trend I call recreational mowing, something I’ve seen on several properties in similar extreme examples. I’m afraid the mowers in question have nothing better to do with the times besides being aesthetically obsessed.
Nature, which includes publicly owned road allowances, does not always need to look neat and clean. In fact, it’s often best when road ditches are diversified with tall grasses and herbaceous plants.
In Minnesota, there is so little native prairie left and so little grassland that road allowances are about all wildlife can find in some areas.
Right-of-way grasses are necessary for bees and nesting birds, white-tailed deer fawns, and many other creatures.
Is it inherently dangerous to be next to a secondary road where vehicles travel at phenomenal speeds? Absolutely, but in many areas there is no other perennial cover or blooming flowers, and so it is a necessity.
Lawns are a loss of habitat. A NASA study based on satellite observations found that “more land in the United States is devoted to lawns than to individual irrigated crops such as corn or wheat.”
In total, the estimated area of lawn cover in the United States amounts to 128,000 square kilometers. This number continues to grow.
With so much land covered in grass, imagine the amount of fertilizer and herbicide used and the amount of gasoline burned or spilled maintaining those lawns?
All on a non-native monoculture with almost no habitat value.
Many municipalities have ordinances that require lawn maintenance. We have legislated and socially brainwashed into thinking lawns are important.
As I’ve been telling my friends for a long time when they come to my house, I’m proud of my sportsman’s lawn. My lawn is long and uneven, uneven and poorly maintained, full of weeds and rarely mowed.
And the more I can replace with maintenance-free landscaping, sheds, or objects that reduce my mowing area, the better.
One day, if I can afford it, the whole lawn will be gone. I’m jealous of those who live in arid climates and have gravel or Astro grass front yards.
Las Vegas finally found out and banned lawns last year. Paying to water lawns in the desert really highlights the madness.
If you love your lawn and it’s your hobby, more power for you. But if you’re like me and hate yard work, would rather cast a line or walk through a woodlot than mow, then give your lawn a rest this month and consider switching to something more. eco-friendly. Learn more at Beecityusa.org
Scott Mackenthun has been writing about hunting and fishing since 2005. Email him at [email protected]