Saving creeks and lakes, one lawn at a time

  • Article by: JOSEPHINE MARCOTTY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 2, 2011 - 7:56 AM

Some communities are trying to change the manicured-lawn mindset to reduce chemical runoff.

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levelheadedMay. 1, 1112:20 AM

This whole "my lawn is better than yours" mentality is totally out of control. Too bad this article didn't touch on the risk to children who play on these yards that get hundreds of pounds of fertilizers through the course of the growing season.

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rthashmarkMay. 1, 11 6:12 AM

looks great, however in Mpls if you try to do something alternative from the norm a city crew of geniuses will come in and chop it all down and call it weeds, fine you and charge you for their time

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ginny10May. 1, 11 6:32 AM

Just a small correction, MN did not "ban" phosphorus fertilizers, It "restricted" its use unless a soil test shows that P is needed. A ban would be an infringement on the Federal interstate commerce clause and subject to law suits. A restriction does not do that. It is difficult to enforce, but the law was primarily intended as an education tool. It has been quite successful in that regard. Over 80 % of MN soils have enough naturally occurring P and do not need more.

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millarscorMay. 1, 11 6:47 AM

One of the many reasons we selected Wisconsin over Minnesota for our lake home. No home around our lake is closer than 200 feet from the lake and no natural vegetation is allowed to be disturbed within 150 feet from the lake other than around your dock area. There are no lawns down to the lake shore.

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Willy53May. 1, 11 6:59 AM

When I moved to Minnesota 25 years ago I was completely perplexed by Minnesotan's obsession with chemically induced green lawns cut too short too often. I wondered what it was that elevated this insane need for the manicured lawn over the blatant environmental damage done by chem lawns an inch and a half high. In the ensuing 25 years I have decided to reject that approach. By letting lawns grown longer roots penetrate deeper, much less water is needed to keep them green and mulch from cutting helps fertilize them. As a result the nearly acre of grass I must mowe has produced some interesting results. Toads, walking sticks, newts and other interesting creatures like it. Because I leave one area untended to help buffer the runnoff that has been rerouted into my yard by the placement of a neighbor's new garage, a litteral butterfly garden has been created. All this untreated flora has produced a plethroa of fauna. An amazing number of bird species like it because of that. I'm fortunate to have a wealth of mature trees but I also tend a strip of land next to the neighbor's fence to a "wild" woods condition which harbors a rediculous amount of wildlife of all kinds. A recent neighbor told me that her beagle cannot wait to be walked near our property due to the animal activity there. All of this would be lost were I to dump chemicals on the lawn several times a year. But the real benefit is that this small piece of property can absorb more water and contributes so much less in stormwater pollution than a chemically treated lawn. I have never once watered it and every single August as chem lawns are being challenged by late summer, turning a bit brown on the edges, my lawn in contrast is a lush green, albeit with a smattering of creeping charley and clover. I simply offer this as a cheaper more interesting, less maintenance intensive and environmentally cleaner way to a green lawn.

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mnfatherMay. 1, 11 8:31 AM

How about some REAL reporting to go WITH the article. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency HAS a program in place that the entire state is covered under. It's called the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. ANY construction plan is supposed to develop one and have it designed and installed BEFORE any work is started on any project over 5 acres and 1 acre if it's part of a larger plan. What this homeowner did comes from those Best Management Plans (BMP's) that are available from MN PCA. http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/water/water-types-and-programs/stormwater/stormwater.html http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/water/water-types-and-programs/stormwater/construction-stormwater/construction-stormwater.html

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akestlyMay. 1, 11 4:40 PM

"I don't get so much into the green thing," he said. Tragic that science looses again to big agri chemicals. I will not do business with that company. I hope others will consider doing the same.

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kobearMay. 4, 1111:10 AM

Yep, and MPCA is obviously regulating that 12,000 sq/ft house feature in another article?? With the bare soils all around it running off into the lake?? Guess we might be missing more than a little pollution with that program.

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