I remember back in college, a fellow student complaining about the tall fescue infesting bluegrass turf, ruining the solid green color and texture.

When did we start desiring moncultures?

A monoculture is growing one  plant, and only one plant. They are unnatural, unhealthy, and boring.

Here is my idea of a healthy lawn:

spring sprouts7

This is at my grandma’s. She hated it. There were violets, clover, dandelions, all growing up together. She saw a weed patch. I saw wonderful beneficial relationships. Clover providing nitrogen, leaves overlapping to maximize sunlight use. Not only that, but there were purple flowers in the spring, yellow in the summer. And it was actually producing edible crops in the form of the violets and dandelion greens.

There aren’t any monocultures in nature. There is a reason for that. Moncultures invite pests, require fertilizers, more water, more work.

I hate the smell of 2,4-d on lawns. It’s nasty, even worse when it is somewhere where my kids are. There are some weeds out there that might need eradication. But common lawn weeds are often edible, and beautiful. Dandelions have yellow flowers, edible greens, they provide nectar to bees. Clover fixes nitrogen: more clover, less fertilizer. Wood sorrel is edible and medicinal. Why would we get rid of free flowers and food?

I’m going against the grain of traditional landscaping. One of the main goals we have developed for our landscapes are perfect green lawns. Why, and at what cost? We dump chemicals on them, so we can look at them out our windows. I like lawns. They are fun to play on, and hold up for tons of outside activities in a way no other replacement can. But I’m never going to spray 2,4-d on my lawn to get rid of clover. Actually, I’ve considered seeding in clover, violets and other “weeds.” It is simply healthier, maintains that durable play surface, and simply means less work for me.

If your main landscaping goal is a green boring lawn, just ask the question why? I’m not saying rip out all the lawn (although I have plans to scale back a lot of mine), just find a different vision. Instead of  trying for a monoculture, hold off on spraying that clover, let the lawn grow a little longer. Stop looking for all the problems, and instead find out what a dandelion green salad taste like.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s