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Let's Embrace the Imperfect Lawn

More weeds means things are looking greener in North Canton.

This past weekend, I went for a long early-morning walk in my extended neighborhood. Birds chirped, trees cascaded, and shrubs glistened with morning dew. There was a bounty of flourishing flowers complete with the occasional bee and weeds graced almost every lawn. 

Yes, I love to see weeds in yards! And, I hate to see those little flags that indicate that chemicals have been sprayed. This might have something to do with the fact that it has been estimated that Americans use more pesticides to care for their lawns than they do to grow food! 

It takes grit to retreat from a long, hard battle waged against a weedy lawn. But, consider surrendering, especially if you use pesticides as your primary source of defense. Not only will you save money, effort and time, you will be improving the environment. As I have mentioned before, pesticides are harmful, particularly to children and pets. 

If you are afraid of what the neighbors will think, go for a walk. You will find, as I have, that many are treating their lawns “green” and embracing the weeds. 

Thank you to everyone who isn't using pesticides on your lawn — you are leading the way toward a greener North Canton!

For more information visit these sights: http://www.safelawns.org/
http://www.beyondpesticidesohio.org

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ken Palosi June 12, 2012 at 08:58 PM
I haven't used herbicides on my lawn since 2007 and I don't really mind the way my lawn looks, but I am not too sure if my neighbors think much of it. I try to weed by hand using an asparagus fork but each year I just find I leave more and more weeds to their business.
Zachary Linquist June 13, 2012 at 12:36 AM
My good friend just started a truly organic - not just "organic-based" lawn care company in Stark County this year. Its called Greener Grass and will give a beautiful and heathly lawn without the dangerous chemicals. He's a new small business in the area and a really knowlwdgable guy who cares about his customers. If you're interested you can learn more about his services on his website - http://www.choosegreenergrass.com
Shelley Cobb June 13, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Zachary, Thank you for the information on your friend's company! I will try to spread the word to others!
Ashley Villers June 22, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Shelley {or anyone for that matter}, Do you know what kind of zoning regulations there are on our front lawns within the city? Are there any terms that describe how much of our frontyard has to be actual "lawn" or whether or not we can turn it into a multifunctional garden? The more research Nick and I do, the more we kind of would like to turn our front and back yard into a space where utility and beauty are equally important.
Ken Palosi June 22, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Ashley, a few years ago our city council passed an ordinance stating that anyone who didn't cut their lawn and let their grass grow above six or eight inches could be cited. I don't know of anyone actually being cited, but it is food for speculation that around that time a property owner on Lindy Lane actually did what you are contemplating. They replaced every blade of grass with wildflowers and indigenous plants; it was quite interesting. Coincidentally shortly after the ordinance was enacted into law the lawn went back to grass. I don't know if the owners had any complaints about their natural garden front yard but I would do my homework before going to the trouble and expense of redoing your yard.
Shelley Cobb June 22, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Ashley, After reading Ken's reply (Thank you, Ken!), I searched through NC's ordinances posted on-line. The only one I could find regarding lawns was Chapter 1155.07 at http://www.conwaygreene.com/NorthCanton/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&2.0. In this section it reads: "In all districts, required yards and all other portions of the lot not covered by permitted structures shall be landscaped with grass, trees, shrubbery and/or other appropriate living ground cover or landscaping material, which at all times shall be maintained in good and healthy condition." There is more, but nothing regarding length of grass is mentioned in this section. However, this could be addressed in another chapter. It does mention "shrubbery and/or other appropriate living ground cover or landscaping material." This seems to suggest that other plants are allowed other than grass. But, as Ken recommended it would probably be best to contact someone and perhaps get something in writing, even an e-mail, before making changes. Your property would look very nice with a nontraditional front lawn!
Ken Palosi June 22, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Shelly and Ashley. The following article http://www.cantonrep.com/news/x876172970/North-Canton-tackles-high-grass mentions that the current height limit is eight inches, but they had been considering changing it to six inches. Here is the ordinance that deals with vegetation on your lot. http://northcantonohio.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/53-07.pdf . Pay attention to the term "rank vegetation" in the ordinance. I would recommend that you contact the member of council for your ward before going to any expense or trouble. If you do wind up doing it get in touch with me. I may be able to give you some plants.

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