Q: What’s up with those no-mow lawns? Are they genetically modified?
A: Up there with inheriting a million-dollar cottage and getting two months’ paid vacation, never having to mow the lawn again has got to be one of the top summertime daydreams. You can love getting down and dirty in your garden all you want, but who wants to get sweaty pushing a mower, especially if it involves sucking back fumes?
Speaking of which, you eco-villains with gas mowers should really trade them in.
Gas-powered lawn equipment spits out about 80,000 tons of emissions in Canada each and every year.
And no, no-mow lawns aren’t just garden-variety fantasy. Whether or not they’re genetically engineered depends on the kind you’re talking about. In 2003, the Center for Food Safety and the International Center for Technology Assessment filed a lawsuit to halt the spread of genetically engineered lawn grasses.
Gee, I wonder which company was behind the push to plant GMO varieties of creeping bentgrass and Kentucky bluegrass that are resistant to the most popular pesticide in North America? Well, Timmy, that would be the biotech giant every activist loves to hate, Monsanto, which cranked out a Roundup-ready grass seed (under the Scotts brand name).
Once released into the environment, the biotech grasses would become “superweeds,” said concerned orgs. Their windswept seeds would be tantamount to “biological pollution.” The green news is that Scotts not only lost in court (and had its appeal tossed out six weeks ago), but was fined half a million dollars for contaminating national grasslands with its illegal field trials.
Scientists are still busy splicing their way to a low-mow lab-engineered grass, but so far it has yet to make it to store shelves. I’m not sure why they’re wasting their time when nature’s already developed amazingly hardly grasses of its own. And no, you won’t have to wade through hip-high blades to get to your back shed.
In fact, Wildflower Farm (www.wildflowerfarm.com) just north of Toronto offers an eco-lawn seed mix that, once grown, only needs to be mowed once a month at most, if you want that clipped suburban look, though mowing isn’t necessary. Left to their own devices, these fescue seeds will form a low, flowing turf that looks like a green golden retriever’s coat.
The grass’s 9-inch roots go way deeper than those of regular Kentucky bluegrass, digging deep for natural nutrients and water instead of relying on external inputs (aka your hose and a bag of Miracle-Gro). And since it’ll stay dryer at the surface, you can say goodbye to grubs. You will have to water it frequently in the first year, but next season you shouldn’t have to pull out the sprinkler at all except in serious droughts.You can take the plunge and dig up that old Kentucky bluegrass or start seeding your existing lawn now. Best time is spring or fall, so get moving.
Not that it’s the only slow-mow lawn nature has to offer. Want strawberry fields forever? Well, you can get pretty close with this cool water-resistant grass seed mix from a company in Oregon (www.protimelawnseed.com/about-us/fleur-de-lawn). No actual strawberries, but the Fleur De Lawn mix will give you a yard full of nitrogen-rich strawberry clovers mixed with perennial rye grass (a good alternative to fescues), plus squat, pink English daisies and baby blue eyes. Basically, a lawn so cute you’ll want to hug it.
They aren’t native species, but the green advantage is your Fleur De Lawn barely needs any watering and your won’t have to fertilize. The occasional mow is needed if you want the flowers to keep blooming through to July. (FYI) this lawn will grow a little longer than your Wildflower Farm mix.
P.S.: If you do have an old gas mower to recycle, just bring it Hollywood North Auto Parts on Eastern near Leslie (www.hollywoodnorthauto.com). All that metal deserves a second kick at the can.
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