Monday, March 28, 2011

Cardin Lectures on Lawn Care

U.S. Senator tell us when and how to fertilize lawns
The park where Sen. Ben Cardin and environmentalists gathered Monday to report on lawn fertilizer's harmful effects on the Chesapeake Bay made the point for them: the lawn includes a grassy patch on a pier jutting over the harbor where any excess fertilizer threatens to run into the harbor and help fuel oxygen-robbing algae growing in the water.

Cardin joined Environment Maryland on Monday as it released a study on the impact of lawn fertilizers that run into the contaminated waterway. The study comes as lawmakers in Annapolis are considering new regulations for lawn fertilizer that would require changes in ingredients and its application.

Cardin urged homeowners "to be part of the solution" this spring when they fertilize their lawns, urging them to be mindful that those and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to the fragile watershed. Lawns are being eyed in bay cleanup efforts because grass covers more acres in the bay watershed than any other crop. And fertilizers that help lawns grow are blamed for harming water quality when they spill into the bay.
He could have stood in mud, he could have stood on astroturf, he could have stood in a salt marsh, but no, they needed to do the photo op on a bright green piece of real turn. It makes me want to go check out his property(s) and see how well the lawn is cared for, and do the same for all the various state offices and all.  What do you want to bet we could find many acres number of maintained, well fertilized grass.

The legislation in question restricts (for home owners) the application of fertilizers from March 1 to Nov. 15, or whenever the ground is frozen (to prevent runoff). It also reduces the potency fertilizers, while allowing slightly higher potencies for organic forms.

One result of a bill like this is to increase the number of people who want to get their lawns green but don't want the hassle of following the govt's prescription.  Thus, the lawn care companies get more business.  In other words, rent seeking:
One measure that has the backing of both environmentalists and industry would set limits for the first time on the dates and manner in which do-it-yourselfers can try to keep their grass green and growing.

That's just fine with William Valentine, owner of Forever Green Landscaping in Parkville, who says lawn-care professionals like him are already taking precautions to protect the bay from excess fertilizer getting applied and then washing off yards into nearby streams.
And to make sure that the rent seekers have an advantage over the do they give the professionals an advantage:
The same rules would apply to lawn-care companies, except they'd have an extra two weeks in the fall — until Dec. 1 — to feed their customers' grass.
Now,  I hate lawns.  They cut into my fishing time (I try to cut lawns when the wind blows, but it doesn't always work.   If this passes I will cheerfully use it as an excuse the let the lawn deteriorate into a dusty/muddy weed choked field.  Georgia will be upset, but I'll happily blame big government.  Lawns are a suburban convention that we would be better without.  Nevertheless, I'm not happy to be told how to do it by people who don't understand or care about individual circumstances, and really, when it comes down to it, don't care.

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