Growing turf-type grasses in North America

Let's face it, your lawn, yard, grass, turf, whatever you call it, is pretty cool stuff. Grass smells good when it gets cut. Nice Bluegrass lawns feel good to walk barefoot across on a hot summer day. Fine fescue lawns look pretty in the fall when the first frost settles in. Plus, your lawn has that wonderful environmental thing going for it where it helps clean the air of pollutants, helps retain valuable soil from being washed away, and gives off oxygen.

No matter what kind of grass you've got growing in your yard, the only thing all that lovely green turf asks from you is a little care, a little patience, and to be fed, watered and groomed occasionally.

An entire industry has grown out of trying to feed and trim that patch of green. The lawn care industry is now a multi-billion dollar affair that didn't exist 50 years ago, even though grasses have been around for centuries.

Where our culture once accepted weed-plants and grass growing side-by-side in our lawns, it wasn't until the advent of modern day selective herbicides that it became possible for us to isolate the grass plant from the weeds. Until the industrial machine starting seeing the potential in weed-free lawns, we were happy in our bliss of just accepting green spaces no matter what constituted those green areas. Marketing departments started to show us how your lawn could look just like a golf course or country club. For must of us, we became hooked on having near perfect lawns. Weeds in the lawn became unacceptable.

The American consumer had no concerns about our environment or what was best for the soil, results were all that mattered — and that's how things remained for a number of decades. That "results only" mind set is now beginning to change. More lawn care companies are offering organic programs, and taking extra precautions when using potentially harmful pesticides. In Canada, it is now illegal to apply pesticides. So too is our American culture beginning to make adjustments.

In the next decade we may see a complete ban on pesticides in the United States. Tighter restrictions or modifications of consumer products will probably make it tougher to kill weeds and bugs. Our population is growing so fast that we cannot proceed as we have in the past, for fear of harming our future.