While many American's are losing their lawns to a seemingly endless drought, one Minnesota man lost his to the fine print.
Rob Olson accidentally massacred his 40,000 square foot backyard after failing to note a tiny warning tucked away in the small print of a bottle of weed killer, reported KARE 11. The fraction-of-an-inch-high letters warned that the product was not to be used on grass.
To be fair to the chemical vendor, the words “Weed and Grass Control” were printed on the front of the bottle, but Olson didn't think the warning was clear enough. He and three employees of the garden center he bought the product at didn't think “control” meant “kill everything.”
While some might say that this is the epitome of a first world problem, and that one subburbanite screw-up hardly compares to the crop failures currently reducing America's food supply — Olson had been putting his yard to good use. The green expanse was to be the site of a fund raiser to fight cystic fibrosis. Olson's sons suffer from the disease and the now brown lawn was the setting for an event last year that reaped $20,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Olson canceled the event this year.
Olson's lawn could have ended up looking perfect for the fundraiser if he had used less harsh chemicals to treat his turf. For example, corn gluten prevents weed seeds from germinating.
Lawns are the quintessential covering for the subburbanites' yard. But there are other options. Many plants considered as weeds are actually medicinal, like plantain (Plantago major) which can be used to treat wounds. Others are edible, like the much maligned but tasty dandelion. Being tolerant of some biodiversity can save headaches and heartbreaks.
In our current drought, the wisdom of converting a lawn to native prairie plants becomes evident. Prairie wildflowers evolved to thrive during droughts that shrivel European lawn grasses. Iridescent purple coneflowers and other indigenous flora end up looking much prettier than a withered expanse of drought scourged grass.
A dry lawn (kallerna, Wikimedia Commons)