Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Grass is for the cows

When Ivan Lendl blurted this out in frustration at not being able to win on grass at Wimbledon yet again , little did he realise he was voicing a very sound ecological principle . Grass is definately for the cows where it doesn't grow naturally . But for some reason grass and garden have become synonymous and people will go to absurd lengths to grow it everywhere , Jerusalem included . Most grasses guzzle water in enormous quantity , need generous amounts of fertilizers , herbicides and a lot of your time when you could have laid back and watched your local flora grow virtually unaided. Looks like some people have a similar idea about grass as this story inTreehugger
The rich really are different from you and me. Where many of us are planting green roofs and permeable paving to increase the amount of green in the world, many of the rich have "garden fatigue" and are paving it over. According to the Wall Street Journal, "Here's what's on the way out in landscaping: grass, flowers and trees.

They got the part about getting rid of the grass right but then they lost track of the script . Grass does one thing right and that is to maintain a permeable surface . So instead of losing water as surface runoff the water sits in and percolates gradually to the acquifer . In Urban areas with high percentage of paved area , surface runoff is a big issue during rains . The drainage system has to be designed for the worst possible scenario to prevent flooding and top it all , it is done at the expense of the groundwater . So if you live in an area where the climate supports grass , by all means go and plant a lawn . In areas not suitable for grasses the same can be replaced with permeable surfaces and vegetation that is native to the place . I bet the cow is also more accustomed to the local vegetation than to an imported grass .



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