Having a lawn that extends very wide is a part of the American dream alongside a Golden Retriever and white picket fence. Though more and more people are moving into the big city and are more likely to settle in the apartment settings, this image remains. The thing about having lawns is that they can be quite destructive. Lawns make your home look very welcoming and beautiful, but it also has consequences. First of all they are a most commonly grown crop in the United States and do not provide nourishment for people. Thus they are a vanity crop courtesy of 18th century Europe and are about as useful as rabbit-shaped hedges. Not only do they not provide food for people but they not even provide home for insects. This has nothing to do with the fact that they do not have that capability so much as they are constantly under attack. Lawn owners strive to have a lawn that is pleasing to look at and beautiful landscape and so they spray it with a barrage of insecticides in turn destroying our ecosystem.
The thing is, some insects are problematic in a garden and so using the chemicals helps to destroy the beneficial insects, ie., bees and spiders. We need to make an effort in keeping these bugs around and yet we have a considerable decline in these precious bug in the last decade or so. However, pesticides are not the only destructive force in the insect lives, using of very bright light outside of the home is causing them to migrate and set up home elsewhere and so it is recommended to put motion sensors on security lights as well as to replace the regular yellow light bulb with LED bulbs. This way the insects will not suffer from the shock of annoyingly bright lights.
Not only are lawns bad for the insects but also for the environment as well.They are substantial water hogs, particularly in dry climates such as Arizona and New Mexico. As a result a massive amount of wastage is happening for exactly zero purposes. Lawns also thrive on chemicals that pollute our waterways and deteriorates watershed. In a time when droughts are very real issue, it is heinous to keep them around.
There are quite a few replacements crops that will actually be useful to you and your surroundings, so try make an effort to dig up your lawn and plant some of them. The first step, according to biologist Douglas Tallamy is to remove all invasive species, such as Watercress and plant native alternatives. Primarily, native plants “support the life cycles of 10 to 100 times more insect species than non-native plants, and a few plants such as (native cherries and willows) serve as a host for insect 10 to 100 times most insect natives than most other native varieties”. He also pointed out that it is advantageous for people living in all except the driest parts of the country to plant oak trees.
If a meadow is what is required, plant such as Goldenrod, Sunflowers and Asters should be established.
It is also stated that if every landowner in the country converted half of their lawn by planting native species, 20 million of what is essentially ecological wasteland can be turned into insect-supporting habitats. We need to learn how to conserve and stop relying on professional conservation specialist, there are simply not enough of them.
Responsibility comes with landownership and stewarding the life associated with the land. Please take care of insects and other useful life forms found on your land.