Vrai Vert

The star of a sheepdog demonstration. In Ireland, which is unfailingly and intensely green.

Think anyone will see through my cleverly disguised title? Surely nobody who reads this will know any French? Oh, what? Well, I’m not picking on TruGreen in particular, but they’ve been bugging me lately. Actually, the rest of this post applies to any lawn care company, so far as I know.

Know what a truly healthy lawn looks like? It ain’t a greensward, I’ll tell you that. A healthy lawn includes a wide variety of types of grass and other plants, probably has fungus growing in it, and will also probably be full of worms and insects, and it will never look like a “Lawn Care” lawn. Look at the picture above of that Irish pasture (there were sheep in the demonstration also.) The grass, green and lush, is lumpy, and, if you could look closely enough, contains several species of grass, clovers, dandelions, and who knows what all else? The farmer doesn’t care for perfection in the appearance of grass; he doesn’t need a lawn. He needs a productive meadow so that he can raise healthy sheep, and that means that he needs a healthy crop of grass for the sheep to eat. And healthy grass is messy, and not at all like what so many people talk themselves into wanting.

A “Lawn Care” lawn is a monoculture. What happens when a pathogen for whatever plant species is used comes along? Well, it will all die, which is why those companies spend so much time adding ever more chemicals to “keep the grass healthy.” Not sure it does much for people or pets, but what the heck, the lawn looks great, right?

Well, maybe to someone who has no idea how grass is supposed to look. I walk our dogs around the neighborhood every day. Most properties in Vegas don’t have grass at all, but of those who do, there is a split between the perfectly manicured, unhealthy types, and the messy but healthy types. The thing is, both are equally green, if that’s what you’re after. Ireland is the greenest place you could imagine, and nobody tends the meadows at all. They’re diverse, messy, healthy, and won’t poison sheep, dog, or human. So, I come to my final point, which is, please, if you insist on raising a lawn, make it a healthy, diverse and messy one. Don’t use some service that only promotes the further use of its own dangerous chemicals. In the long run, you, your pets, your kids, and the world will be a lot happier if you do.