Lawn season is upon us once again, the silence and sanctity of our neighborhoods shattered by the constant roar of mowers, the whine of weed eaters, and the noxious fumes of various of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides.
For those of you on the unending quest for that picture-perfect, velvety carpet of fescue or Bermuda grass, summertime is anything but carefree. Whereas you could be sipping lemonade and swinging in a hammock, you more often find yourself dragging sprinklers around, yelling at wayward canines, and hunting down dandelions with all the bloodthirsty indignation of a wounded panther.
But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m here to tell you why you should let the weeds win.
Weeds are, in case you haven’t noticed, pretty sturdy little things. And part of being sturdy is growing and thriving wherever you happen to end up. Weeds are experts at this. Your coddled, carefully cultivated grasses are failures. Even in the midst of a Sahara-level drought, weeds remain green, if not downright lush. The only water they require is whatever rain happens to fall. Imagine, if you will, a world where you’re not dragging the sprinkler hose all over Hell’s half acre or paying a $823.56 water bill.
Imagine a world where you don’t go away on vacation and have to hire someone to keep your freaking grass alive. Weeds don’t need you or your stinkin’ water. Weeds don’t want you to care about their hydration. Stop being absurd and wasting one of the world’s most precious and scarce resources - clean drinking water - by literally dumping it out on the ground. Save your money and time and spend it on things like large steaks, cold beers, and blowing things up with fireworks. You know…the important stuff in life.
You know what the difference between a weed and a flower is? Flowers live in pots and neatly kept beds, and weeds live out in the yard. In the spring and early summer, a wild yard is loaded with things like dandelions, henbit, chickweed, and other early flowers that provide important sources of pollen and nectar to honeybees who have had a very long winter with scant food stores. Having a yard made of weeds - and refraining from mowing it for those first crucial weeks into early April - ensures that hungry honeybees can reap the benefits. Plus, all those purple, yellow, and pink flowers are way prettier to look at than dry, brown grass you’re trying to coax out of hibernation.
If your yard is made of weeds, then there’s absolutely no need for you to soak everything in herbicides! You put that battle to bed a long time ago. The same applies to pesticides for killing grubs and beetles and to all those fertilizers that will inevitably end up being washed down your storm drain.
Have you ever seen those little signs in people’s yards after the lawn chemical trucks have made their rounds? The signs warning you not to let your children or pets out onto the lawn for a certain number of hours?
What fun is summertime if you can’t run barefoot across the lawn with your kids or lie on your back at night and count the stars? What fun is summertime if you have to run in the house and slam all the windows shut because your lawn is being doused in a concoction of God-only-knows what, all in the name of keeping a non-native species of grass alive in an environment its totally not suited to? What fun is summertime if you can’t go out and catch fireflies in a jar because ALL THE FIREFLIES ARE DEAD?
I rest my case.
It’s green. It’s lush. It’s well-manicured. Weeds or grass, it doesn’t matter. It all looks perfectly fine once you give it a fresh haircut. And with weeds, you don’t have to obsess over the blade height or sharpness, because there’s pretty much no way you’re going kill those suckers - especially not accidentally.
I don’t know about you, but I get a kick out of some good old fashioned rebellion every now and then, and having a lawn beautifully blanketed in weeds is one small way to “opt out” of a pretty wasteful, toxic, and unnecessarily extravagant part of our culture.
Every dandelion is like a clever little protest sign! Every sweet little violet is like a tiny hippie singing “Kumbayah.” Every drop of water you don’t waste keeping your grass alive is a drop of water the earth thanks you for conserving! Plus, it’s a great way to stick it to your overachieving neighbors. They want you to compete with them for Shiniest Lawn, so simply don’t. Let them have the honor. Don’t keep up with the Jonses. Shrug them off completely. Nothing makes a Jones more livid than neighborly indifference.