PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So what makes a beautiful lawn?
The natural lawn is making a comeback, decades after the advent of lawn chemicals.
It’s no secret that suburbanites love their lawns, but what’s the cost of carpet-like perfection?
“If you want to try to kill every single weed and every single dandelion, you can do that,” founder of the “I Love Long Island” campaign Doug Wood tells CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff. “But it comes at a price and that price is polluted water.”
Wood maintains his Port Washington lawn naturally, with lower nitrogen slow-release fertilizer and no pesticides. He convinced neighbors on his block to ditch the high-nitrogen chemicals as well.
Now, he’s handing out hundreds of lawn signs in an attempt to change the culture of Long Island.
“When it rains half of what you paid for is going to wash down the street and go into the bays and then you’re going to have an algae bloom and fish kills,” Wood said. “And then people scratch their heads and say why is the beach closed again.”
Going natural is easier than most think, and often has better results.
Namely, you can mow less and grow grass longer to naturally shade out weeds. To grow healthier grass with deeper roots, you can water your lawn for longer but with less frequency.
Additionally, you can pour boiling water on driveway and crevice weeds.
At Bayless Garden Center, natural products are outselling traditional chemicals.
“People say organics are more expensive and they are not, because you’re using less fertilizer and because they last longer,” Mike Lamberti said.
The Woods insist they’re not sacrificing anything.
“I have a beautiful lawn, I know my neighbors and their kids and pets can play on my lawn,” wife Patti said. “A beautiful natural lawn is mostly grass and a little bit of clover and some little weed pressure in it because that’s what makes the whole ecosystem grow.”
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation encourages natural lawn care, saying it has been practiced for much longer than chemical lawn care and can easily be implemented anywhere.