Monday, February 8, 2010
Plant a Meadow Not a Lawn & Limit the Use of Non-Road Engines
Each weekend, about 54 million Americans mow their lawns, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants. Garden equipment engines, which have had unregulated emissions until very recently, emit high levels of carbon and other pollutants, producing up to 5% of the nation's air pollution and a good deal more in metropolitan areas.
A typical 3.5 horsepower gas mower, for instance, can emit the same amount of VOCs -- key precursors to smog -- in an hour as a new car driven 340 miles, say industry experts.
The exchange of 1,000 gasoline-powered lawn mowers for electric mowers has the potential of reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by 9.8 tons per year, which is equivalent to removing 230 cars from the highways. (From EPA Lawn Equipment)
There are the facts. One of the beautiful things about getting rid of a lawn and planting a meadow, is that a meadow is more enticing for birds and butterflies and other beneficial insects. A meadow is a more complex pattern with changing colors and motion from breezes. But some of these meadow grasses can be walked and played on. There is no need to give up functionality because choosing a low growing sedge can produce a similar texture and look of a turf grass lawn. Best of all, meadows are watered and mowed far less frequently and do not require the chemical inputs that turf does.
The goal is to reduce the burning of fossil fuels as much as we can. That is better for us and better for the planet. And it might be more beautiful. Inspiration for this post was John Greenlee, author of The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn