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Pradeep Srivastava:

I am curious to hear more about the "fake lawn" approach.  What is it?  Green 
painted concrete?

I agree with most of what you say, but offer some personal experiences and 
some "real lawn" and garden P2 alternatives to your "fake lawn" option:

1. Rare use of lawn and garden watering.  Only when absolutely necessary, 
e.g., to help flowers and vegies get their starts; or in long term dry 
spells.  Dish water can be used on flowers (it's soapy and helps keep the bugs 
off - plus it's much cheaper than the "safe" store brand insecticidal soaps).  
Also, if you must water, avoid watering in the "heat of the day" when water will
tend to be wasted by evaporation.  I think early mornings are best.  And you can
water lightly instead of soaking!

2. Rare or no use of fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides and other lawn 
treatments. See above.  My grandmother and great-grandmother used their 
dish rinse water on their gardens many moons before P2 was a concept.  We 
also carefully use a cayenne pepper/water solution from a spray bottle 
around the perimeter of the house for the annual ant onslaught in May.  We 
know that ants communicate, but I'm starting to wonder if they keep oral 
histories: have not seen any of the little buggers in the house in three or 
four years, although there are plenty outside.  Also, we don't try to make 
our lawn look like the proverbial golf course putting green.  Dandelions 
pretty much go away once hot weather arrives, and I use a non motorized 
device to pull the few weeds that I absolutely can't tolerate.

3. Use a non power push mower.  My boss here in the office says there's a Zen 
quality to using the old fashioned style mower and I have to agree.  We have a
relatively average size yard, but I'm not sure if size of yard has as much 
an impact as length of grass.  You can't allow the grass to get too tall.  I've 
kept my old gasoline mower maintained for the rare times (once or twice 
last year) when there are extended periods of wet weather or I've been 
"swamped" with work and let the lawn go a little too long.  The power mower 
has a mulching blade. And I use a wonderful no-spill spout device (it 
really works!) on the gas can to fill the mower's tank.

Other benefits of using a non power push mower:
- No evil air emissions or pollution (VOCs and carbon monoxide) from exhaust
- No obnoxious loud motor to upset neighbors or disrupt otherwise tranquil 
Saturday (or Sunday) mornings.
- No messy gasoline and motor oil to deal with.
- The push mower is actually lighter weight and easier to maneuver and 
handle than my power mower (neither are self propelled)
- Less likely to send projectiles flying at innocent pets, kids, cars, etc.
- Less likely to lose body parts in an slip, stumble or fall accident.
- Pretty good exercise (human energy source!)
- Evidently, push mowers are more user friendly and lighter weight now than they
used to be.
- And, there is a rather soothing benefit (Zen?) of actually hearing 
blade cut grass from human power that takes one back to the old days (if 
you're old enough to remember).  You can actually carry on conversations 
with loved ones, friends or neighbors while cutting grass.  And all the 
pets, critters, etc. don't run for hills as soon as you "start it up".
- Also, there's a corresponding psychological benefit of doing something in 
a "cheaper, cleaner and smarter" way.

4. I guess every family has different ways of spending quality time together.  
One way could be working together in the home, yard and garden (nurturing?).  I 
always invite visiting friends and relatives to join in the fun.  They also seem
to enjoy the flowers, fruits and vegetables.  Gardening is one of my favorite 

5. I'm sure there are other P2 techniques, tools and approaches to "real lawn" 
and garden care that I've failed to remember or list here that will help us be 
"green" in our own back yards!  Perhaps other folks (Home*A*Syst, for example) 
can chime in!

P.S. I remember when former neighbors of my parents decided to eliminate their 
"golf green" front yard.  These folks, who were very nice and great neighbors, 
were also extremists at lawn care.  It was something they worked on everyday: 
lots of work, lots of mowing, lots of water, lots of chemicals, etc.  But for 
some reason, later in their lives, they reached a breaking point and decided to 
replace their entire grass yard with stones.  No plants, no grass, nothing - but
rocks.  But it was like going from one extreme to another, and I don't know 
which, if either of the extremes, was more environmentally beneficially.  I 
would guess that after they installed the rocks they lost a fair amount of top 
soil with every rain event.  I would also guess that they dramatically increased
their contribution of stormwater runoff.

So, please tell us more about "fake lawns"


J. Bruce Suits
Pollution Prevention Manager
City of Cincinnati
Office of Environmental Management
Two Centennial Plaza
805 Central Avenue, Suite 610
Cincinnati, OH  45202-1947
Phone:     513/352-6270
FAX:       513/352-4970
email:     bruce.suits@cinems.rcc.org
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Author:  "Pradeep Srivastava" <srivasta@dwsd.org> at Internet
Date:    5/14/99 8:57 AM

Does anybody have information about the fate of water that is used for watering
the lawn? What percentage of it seeps to the ground, what percentage is
vaporized, and what percentage ends up in the grass? I suspect most of the
water ends up in the grass or seeps into the ground. Either way this water is
not reusable, unlike the water used in the bathrooms and kitchens, which ends
up in the waterbody it came from through wastewater treatment plants. If that
is so, we are wasting enormous amounts of fresh water in watering lawns, which
look good and are part of an old tradition, but otherwise do not serve any
useful purpose. Although, we live in Great Lakes area and the water is
abundant, yet it is not unlimited. Sooner or later we will starting running out
of fresh water if we keep depleting it through watering the lawn and other
wasteful practices. The lake levels are already on decline. The lawns are also
environmentally unfriendly because of water pollution problems resulting from
runoffs of fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides and other lawn treatment
chemicals and air pollution problems emanating from exhaust of lawn mowers. The
lawn mowers require energy to power them. The time used in watering, nurturing
and cutting the lawn could be better used in spending time with family members,
relative, and friends or developing hobbies.
In light of the above, it might be a good idea to have a fake lawn, instead of
a real lawn.
The above is entirely my own opinion and not that of my employer, who is in the
business of selling water. Incidentally, I have no vested interest in fake
lawns, either. I am just a concerned environmental engineer.

Illig, Richard wrote:

> Not sure this is applicable...or that I'm remembering correctly
> A year or two ago someone posted a message about cleaning moss from
> roofs/shingles.  One suggested "cure" was submitted.  You may find the
> original posting/response in the archives.
> Does anyone else remember this or have any additional clues that might help
> (or at least prevent wasting time on) an archive search?