Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Your Lawn

35.1° here on the mountain this morning and windless for a change. That's nice. The crows are pleased with me at the compost pile where they are going over last night's vegetable parings and egg shells. They love those shells and fight over them until they have all been carried away, over the back fields and into the red pines. I never figured out what the attraction is but it is always there.

As a professional gardener trying to act professionally, I am always reading web magazines and various trade magazines. The amount of garden related information available now, whether you grow vegetables, flowers or a mix of everything, trees and shrubs included, is mind boggling and it seems that every company has their own site to offer new products, new opinions.

One of my favorite companies is Ball Horticultural Company. One of their on-line publications is titled Landscape Insider and they just released these statistics on lawns and the value a good lawn has relative to your home. Read on.

Green = Home Value Boost
Think having a healthy, green lawn contributes to the overall value of a home?

So do 79% of homeowners, according to TruGreen's new Lawn Lifestyles National Survey of America.

In fact, 56% of homeowners say when buying a new home, a nice lawn could warrant a higher price, and 53% say the quality of a homeowner's lawn can tell a lot about the quality of the home overall.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the majority of homeowners (71%) surveyed in the TruGreen report say curb appeal was important in choosing their home. Most of the homeowners surveyed report having purchased a home with a healthy, green lawn (71%) and well-maintained landscaping (72%). 

I  haven't verified these stats but have no doubt they are accurate. I also did not check to see if Ball sells any of the chemicals I complain about.  But here's the rub for me, not with the statistics but with the green lawn part. People seem to have the sense that having a nice looking lawn means going to the store and buying bag after bag of weed and feed, get-rid-of-the-dandelions, etc etc etc. Much of the industry has turned lawns into three season "dump on more product" and that is a concern. As example, yesterday's mail contained an offer for buying the first three bags of what was purported to be a plan of four chemicals/fertilizers/ insecticides/herbicides guaranteed to make your lawn took great. What wasn't advertised was that dumping on that many chemicals showed complete environmental disregard. This "chemicals are good" approach is not the way to go. As you tell me  "Yes, but I really want a nice lawn." I ask if you remember that this is Autism Awareness Month, and that there are dozens of neurological diseases with no known cause, no known cure, that might be caused in whole or part by our overuse of chemicals. And if the autism/neurological notion doesn't interest you, then how about the notion that over 30% of honeybees have died in recent years and we aren't sure why---and--here's the big one--over thirty per cent of what we eat is the direct result of bee pollination. Does dumping more chemicals on you lawn with these two consequences make it look any different? I hope so. 

If you get a chance, Google up my friend Paul Tukey founder of SafeLawns and take a look at a different way to think about green lawns. I like Paul's ideas a lot better and you can still reach that green-is-good lawn look you might want.I know you can!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where recent rains have lowered the snow in the fields and woods here but boots remain a necessity for travel anywhere. Deer are beginning to get out and about and a growing flock of red winged blackbirds, here for two weeks now, are cleaning up last falls leftovers. Spring is nice!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa 
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm 
We are always here to help you grow your green thumb! 
Nursery opens Mother's Day 2013 for the season; web opportunities every single day!!

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