The lawn is quite a curious thing.
It almost seems natural these days to have a neatly cut, luscious green, perfectly kept lawn at all times. But of course, this kind of lawn is far from natural.
Every year, millions of gallons of fertilizer, water and gas are used to keep American lawns looking neat and tidy, with the lawn being the most widely irrigated crop in America today.
And it doesn’t even produce any food!
Considering the significant amount of time, money and resources that go into maintaining a lawn, here are five good reasons why it’s better to let your lawn grow wild.
1. It Will Save You Time and Money
Let’s face it. Keeping a perfect lawn takes up a lot of time and effort, and it also costs money.
Not only do you have to pay for lawn mower maintenance, weedkillers and fertilizer, gas or electricity and water costs to keep your lawn trimmed and green, you also have to put in the hours.
So letting your lawn grow wild will help to keep your bank account healthy and your calendar free.
2. Cleaner Air and Reduced Energy Consumption
Every time you mow your lawn, whether you’re using an electric lawn mower or a gas one, you are consuming energy. If you’re also a fan of operating a motorized trimmer/edger to give your lawn that perfect edge, then this energy usage goes up even further!
Exactly how much energy you’re using depends on the spec of your chosen machinery, and statistics available online vary quite a lot. Nonetheless, you can imagine that, if millions of people are mowing and shaping their lawns on a regular basis, a lot of energy is being wasted.
Reports from the National Emissions Inventory have also found that gas-powered lawn and garden equipment is known to emit high levels of toxic and carcinogenic pollutants. Lawn mowers are responsible for 40% of these emissions, and trimmers/edgers account for 18%.
By giving up your tidy lawn and letting it grow wild instead, you’ll be saving energy, reducing your toxic emissions, and even reducing your exposure to cancer-causing pollutants.
3. Save The Water!
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that landscape irrigation accounts for nearly one third of all residential water use in the U.S., totaling nearly nine billion gallons per day nationwide. Experts have also estimated that 50% of water supplied for irrigation is wasted because of evaporation and inefficient watering methods.
Now that’s a whole lot of water being used to try and keep our lawns looking green and fresh. Because water is gradually becoming scarce, this practice is not sustainable.
According to National Geographic, ‘by 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions as a result of use, growth and climate change.’
This crisis has already become apparent in places such as California, where significant drought continues to be an issue. More than ever, it is essential that we try to use as little bathing and irrigation water as possible. And one way to do that is to let our lawns grow wild!
By allowing your lawn to grow naturally with native plants and wildflowers, far less water will be required. After all, the native plants are adapted to local environmental conditions.
4. Save the Bees! (And Increase Biodiversity)
The wildflowers and meadow plants (and yes, weeds) that are likely to grow when you stop cutting your lawns will add more than just a touch of color to your backyard. They will attract life!
Common ‘weeds’ like dandelions and clover have been found to offer support for local pollinators. Letting the weeds flourish should bring bees, butterflies and all sorts of other insects into your garden.
You’ve probably already heard the disturbing news about bee populations diminishing due to loss of habitat and pesticide spraying. Allowing a bee-friendly garden to grow in place of your well-trimmed lawn is a great way to give ‘the most important living being on earth’ a helping hand (Or a helping dandelion!).
It’s not only insects that will find a new home in your wild garden. The more insects there are, the more likely it is that birds will come and pay you a visit as they search for a nice juicy meal. Birds will also be enticed by seedy plants and native grasses — which they can use as a food source — as well as dried up plant stalks they can harvest as material for their nests.
It makes a lot of sense that, by allowing nature to do its thing in your garden, you’ll be helping the local ecosystem thrive the way it’s supposed to.
5. Cutting out the Chemicals
Speaking of thriving the way it’s supposed to (or not supposed to), often it can require all sorts of artificial chemicals to actually keep a lawn looking ‘healthy’ and green. It’s been estimated that roughly 90 million pounds of fertilizer and 78 million pounds of pesticides are used annually in the U.S. for lawn care alone.
These chemicals have been known to run off and contaminate drinking water, rivers and streams, and even find their way into the air and soil. It also requires a tremendous amount of energy and emissions to produce the chemicals in the first place. So maybe our lawns just aren’t supposed to be green?
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, a tidy green lawn may seem like a natural thing these days, but it’s not!
Letting your lawn grow wild requires absolutely no artificial chemicals whatsoever, and is the most natural thing in the world. I’m sure the rivers and streams would agree!
Sit Back and Relax
It seems quite clear that letting our lawns grow wild is much better for the environment’s health, and for our own, and it doesn’t even require any extra work!
So just sit back, relax, enjoy the birds and the bees, and watch it grow.
And if anyone gives you any grief for having a ‘messy’ lawn, it’s a great chance to inform them about all the reasons a messy lawn is a more sustainable lawn. With a bit of luck, they’ll be letting their own lawn grow wild, too.
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