Grass, weed, call it what you will. Bag it or distribute it? Buy it or cultivate it? Bless it or curse it? What can we do? Clearly, we’re addicted to it. Everywhere you go in the South –forget the nation– the subculture is clearly evident. So what should our attitude really be? Let’s put the legal issues aside and think about it rationally.

It’s my belief that most of us adults have now tried it, and should be able to come to some ultimately sensible societal agreement. After all, even those who have never touched the stuff have strong opinions about it. And I want to state that I am vehemently opposed to it. I wish I’d never been turned on to it. Still, the fact that you or I hate it or love it should not dictate our neighbor’s behavior.

Should it be legal? Is it harmful or not? Proponents argue that it makes things look “nicer” and makes them feel better about themselves. They’re actually mesmerized by it to the point of snobbery about what variety they have or where it came from.

Opponents point to its huge social cost and countless lost hours of productivity because of its effect on people. They think people on grass act silly and don’t control themselves properly, and I have seen some truly strange things happen when people use or abuse this substance. Hours spent in pointless activity. And we know the cultivation and use leads to more dangerous substances.

Then, there’s the issue of the huge business that has grown up around this former weed, which has been made stronger and more pervasive through decades of human cultivation. People who choose to be in the “grass” business have huge private arsenal of weapons and machinery, including the chemical variety. Most of these people are small time operators, true, but some of them enjoy the protection of corporate style franchises. Usually, we’re not really aware of them, but they’re always somewhere in every neighborhood, buzzing around in the background. Should we welcome their contributions to an economy already in shambles?

And what about the communities that have already made up their minds and changed their laws? Where I live, you not only have to have it, you have to care for it, usually at huge expense. Between all the water it takes up and the chemicals to make it as strong and pest free as possible, it’s probably right behind electricity as a household expense, especially here in the South. People’s use of this stuff is actually now damaging the environment and making the water supply unsafe, not to mention the huge carbon footprint its culture requires.

Truly this weed makes us schizophrenic to a huge degree, and I submit it’s time to stop the madness. It’s not good for us or our environment to carry on the way we have been. But because of the huge controversy surrounding this issue it’s going to take time and individual initiative to make things right. Each of us is going to have to make a personal decision and make a stand.

So, personally, I’m swearing off grass, and I hope you’ll consider doing so as well. My first official step will be to have a talk with all my neighbors and let them know that I can no longer embrace an attitude that insists upon the cultivation of grass.

I’m canceling my lawn service and xeriscaping my yard. Damn the covenants and restrictions.

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Glenn Overman

Glenn Overman

Glenn Overman doesn't share much personal information not because he doesn't like or trust you personally, but because some of those people reading over your shoulder are just whacked. He's been everywhere, but he lives in NE FL and is fond of saying, "It's not the heat, it's the stupidity."

8 Comments
  1. Terri Evans

    Great fun. I recommend moving near a park.

  2. Amen, Brother!

    I have nothing more to say but this system says my enthusiastic exclamation for your view is too short. Sorry.

  3. I have no grass in my yard, except the pop-up weeds I’m constantly pulling up. Our yard is entirely covered by large loblolly and longleaf pines, the ground with pine needles. We have gravel in the drive and on the pathways, not concrete, and I love it. The only drawback is the 500,000,000 pine cones that fall in the yard each year. It’s a little unsightly to let them pine up, so I end up spending about as much time picking them up as I would cutting grass. Still, I wouldn’t go back to a normal yard.

  4. There are many kinds of grass, including the bamboo that’s actually native to the Georgia “cane breaks.” Grasses hold the soil in place, an important factor in areas where aggressive weather either produces drought or flood. In the South, one of the major contributors to respiratory disease is dust. Moreover, it is soil particles to which hydrocarbons and other chemicals attach themselves to get a free ride into the drinking water aquifers.
    Grasses are different from broad-leafed weeds in that thrive on being “cut” or browsed. Cutting grass makes for a denser lawn. Artificial feeding and watering makes it develop shallow roots which are less able to withstand weather extremes. Leaving grass clippings in situ mulches and promotes the retention of moisture in the soil.
    Grass is good, if you don’t torture it.

    1. Frank Povah

      In Australia, domestic lawns are among the top three users of water. And while we’re at it, make all golf courses convert themselves to links with no artificially nurtured grasses.

  5. Did you know that the City of Atlanta considers gravel over dirt to be non-permeable land? That means if you are trying to have a xeriscape, and using gravel as part of that, and you want to put an addition onto your home, you must consider the gravel as a paved portion of your land when calculating the percentage of pervious land you can cover with your home extension.

  6. Yep. As a chld, I used to see a woman sweeping her lawn. Not a blade of grass. Who knew? She had it right all along.

  7. Besides the ferns and spontaneous growths around the edges and in “islands” or hammocks around the property, our lawn area is actually mown weeds. The children who visit romp and cavort, play tag and pull wagons as if it’s actual grass beneath their feet. What do they know? Doesn’t bother them a bit.

    Naturally, we do nothing to feed or care for the lawn since it’s just weeds and weeds don’t need encouragement.

    Sometimes the weeds get high enough that the butterflies have their turn at romping and cavorting amongst the weedy flowers. Then Ezra comes (there is a limit to what I can do and what my husband will do), and mows down the weeds. Et voila! It’s a lawn again! There is a patch of lawn that actually is grass. We don’t know how it got there. We treat it the same as we treat the weeds and everyone gets along just fine.

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