Letter to the Editor: Positive practices bring benefits to lawn issue
Published on March 22, 2023 at 2:30pm EDT | Author: frazeevergas0
To the Editor,
I read with interest your article, “Need to Replace your lawnmower in 2025?,” February 28, 2023. Shortly after reading this article I was reading the March/April Reader’s Digest, “Lawns. They’re part of American Life,” which was originally published by the Washington Post (August 24, 2022) copyright 2022 by the Washington Post. So just to make life interesting, I thought I would share a few highlights that provide a little of the flip side of the issue.
Watering a lawn for an hour uses more than 1,000 gallons of water—9 billion gallons a day across the country and makes turf grass our country’s single largest irrigated crop. Fun Fact: In 2018, gas powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers and other garden equipment guzzled almost 3 billion gallons of gas in the U.S., roughly the same as 6 million passenger cars driven for a year. Running a lawn mower for an hour emits the same amount of pollution as driving a car 45 miles. Gas-powered lawn and garden equipment produces 5 percent of our country’s air pollution. Our lawns use 10 times more fertilizer, which releases nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas, than our agricultural crops. Those fertilizers leach into wetlands, rivers and oceans, creating algae blooms that deoxygenate water, causing fish to die.
Having moved to Frazee from the south metro area I have seen first hand the waste and abuse of lawn maintenance/care in larger cities. So while I agree with the “non-sense about banning future sales of gas-powered lawn mowers and chainsaws, leaf blowers, etc,” I do believe the time has come for each of us to step back and ask ourselves how important is “the chemical-fed, water-gulping lawn?” And, is there a way to at least reduce some of our wastefulness?
As the larger metro areas have the most offenders,and with homeowners and businesses not initiating good watering practices, I can see why some of our elected officials are trying to tackle this problem. Unfortunately, the commute to work each day does not bring Rep. Edelson (Edina) or Rep. Newton (Coon Rapids) anywhere close to Frazee. So while it is easy to target those who are trying to bring positive practices/change, I would also like to point out that if at the end of each day, each of us were more willing to put positive actions into practice—some of these ideas would never end up being a “government” issue. (For those of you interested, there are alternative ground covers worth exploring that use less water).