Can Lawns Be Justified?

Awash in fertilizers and pesticides, they may be a hazard to homeowners -- and children, pets and neighbors

Lawn is the curse of suburban man, his bizarre fetish, the great green god he sprays to. Lawn must be barbered to the satisfaction of one's neighbors, or it earns their dirty looks and, in some tightly strung communities, a summons from city hall. The ideal lawn is featureless, a living imitation of Astroturf. Striving to achieve it soaks up water, money and weekend goof-off time in fantastic quantities.

Never mind that trying to grow grass in hot, cold or arid regions is almost as silly as trying to grow kelp. Americans have belawned 25 million to 30 million acres, an...

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