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Root out your lawn

August 24, 2013
by:Itai Lahat
The anti lawns movement is gaining momentum all over the world. It seems that more and more homeowners out there are rethinking their lawns, and there are good reasons for that.

It’s not only the case of homeowners; cities are also contemplating on their lawn policy. This week for example Ian Lovett at the New York Times reported that more than 100,000 m² of grass has been removed from Los Angeles parks since the rebate program began in 2009.

Lovett writes: “new parks provide only token patches of grass surrounded by native plants outside City Hall what was once a grassy park has been transformed into a garden of succulents. The first five months of this year were the driest on record in California with the reservoirs in the state at 20% below normal levels. The lawn rebate program Here will save approximately 180,000 cubic meters of water each year according to the Los Angeles Department of water and power”.

The same thing is happening in Las Vegas the city investment has paid off. In the last decade 35 million cubic meters of water have been saved through turf removal and water use in Southern Nevada has been cut by a third even as population has continued to grow. And it isn't the water crisis that has people rethinking the lawn. Ferris Jabr at Scientific American recently moved into a new home in Brooklyn and resisted his first instinct, which was to put in a grass lawn. His main concern? Bees.

“Never has the well-being of wild bees been so crucial as now”, writes Jabr. “When honeybees are dying in masse for a multitude of reasons—pesticides, poor nourishment, tenacious pathogens—and native bees find fewer places to live and so much less to eat”.

Going back to the sobering statistics. According to some estimates 40 million acres of America are covered in turf grass making turf grass the largest irrigated crop. During the growing seasons if lawns are watered and fertilized as recommended they consume 900 liter of water per person per day. Americans spend approximately thirty billion dollars every year to maintain their lawns. Keeping that in mind, many home owners ask themselves: how much water can I conserve by replacing my lawn with a garden? The answer points to two developing trends: the first is to plant local plants while the second is to convert lawns into edible gardens. According to H.C. Flores’s book “food not to loans”, the amount of water spent on irrigating lawns could be easily used to water 81million acres of organic vegetables in America. To see how the movement is changing gardens all over the world click here.

Image: Angela Davis

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Itai Lahat