And over at Gardening Tips n Ideas,
Stuart climbs on the bandwagon and offers a qualified endorsement of
artificial turf as less of a "nuisance" and "hassle" than the real
thing, especially for people like hay fever sufferers and the
elderly. So I follow the link he provides to Artificial Grass Ltd in England (of all places) and find:
- Pictured as a satisfied customer is Prince Charles himself, who
uses it to cover his garage floor – a benign enough use and hardly an
endorsement for using it instead of the real thing – you know, outdoors.
- The claim that their fake turf is "permeable," although its
purported permeability isn’t quantified, and their suggestion that it
be installed on top of a concrete or asphalt base throws even more doubt on this claim. (Huh??)
- And another "huh?" moment: They recommend "occasional watering" to keep the undersoil from cracking.
- And what’s the stuff made of? Well, the site’s advertising copy doesn’t go near that question.
So all this acceptance – even promotion! – of fake grass by my
gardening and eco-buddies I find to be downright shocking and a little
depressing. Sure, I read all their qualifiers but still. Then just yesterday I read "The Perfect Lawn, Mowed and Muted", an editorial rant by the New York Times
against Mayor Bloomberg’s policy (since the 2004 Republican convention)
of refusing permits for demonstrations on Central Park’s 13-acre Great
Lawn, claiming the newly restored lawn is too fragile. Naturally the Times
is FOR the right to demonstrate and helpfully notes that permits are
routinely given for concerts by the New York Philharmonic and questions
if the policy is intended to protect the lawn or silence dissent.
My reaction? Gee, if they’d only used AstroLawn, I bet that stuff
would hold up to Woodstock and a March Against the War on the same damn
day and deprive the mayor of his lame excuse to turn down the
protesters’ applications. But I immediately felt guilty for having
such a heretical thought.
all these turf questions have my head swirling with more questions and
"but-buts" than I know how to process. I don’t even know WHO to rant
against (Prince Charles?), much less exactly what to say. So I’ll
leave it to our readers to take sides and just suggest, as I’m known to do any and every time someone mentions lawn care, that we need to get over
our notions of perfect lawn and learn to love the imperfect, the
organic, the brown-in-August lawn that’s blooming with good ole
nitrogen-fixing and beneficial-insect-feeding clover. My own
good-enough lawn gets one slow-release feeding in the fall and a
monthly electric haircut. I’m sick of the false-choice presented in
the media between bad-bad lawn and its alternatives that leads to this
amazing suggestion that fake is a better choice environmentally.
And for the record, fake lawn does NOTHING for wildlife (either
above or belowground) and probably very little to lessen stormwater
run-off. Got it? (Okay, now I’m ranting; I guess I got my mojo back.)