Too Much Mowing

🌶️ take (for Iowa/the upper Midwest): If you mow enough to justify having a riding mower you’re mowing too much. Plant wildflowers or prairie grass and find something better to do with your life than maintain ridiculous amounts of unnatural lawn.

I once heard modern lawns called green concrete, and its a mental image that has stuck with me. Grass lawns are mostly lifeless zones with relatively little water absorbing capacity.

This thought could be inspired by going almost anywhere in Iowa in May, (or just by existing in a lot of suburban spaces too), but the thing that specifically made me feel like writing this thought out was this obscene example at an Iowa state park where I stayed overnight this week. Instead of being able to enjoy a a quite beautiful morning in the park and hear birdsong or, god forbid, nothing but the breeze I had the all to common experience of having to hear the drone of a lawnmower. I left the park before he was done, but from 7am to 11:30am this mower was busy doing pretty much nothing worthwhile. The grass wasn’t even long enough to make any noticeable difference.

Now if you have a sharp eye you might notice a clue in the photo that this happens to be a disc golf course as well, so you might think that justifies the mowing a bit. Maybe some, but as a disc golfer I will say, not nearly this amount of clearing is needed, nor desirable, and keeping it extra short like this is of no practical value for facilitating the game. Also worth noting, from being around this park when I was a kid, that this place was always mowed, long before they put the disc golf course in.

State park staff, employed by so called conservation organizations, should know better. The fact that they do not makes me lose hope a little bit, if I am being honest.

The peace ruining noise pollution in what has the opportunity to be a [even better] nature oasis amidst the monocrop desserts of Iowa is not the only downside. Imagine the direct costs of the many many person hours, the many many gallons of gasoline and oil and pesticide and herbicide and fertilizer, even the many worn out mowers from maintaining this space for the past however many decades. This is merely a microcosm of a much more widespread pattern, and yet all by itself is already such a phenomenal waste, and publicly funded one no less!

On the drive home I tried to Imagine when herds of bison and elk roamed the land instead of herds of lawn mowers.

Well, to end on a positive note; It was still a nice trip, and I enjoyed the park in spite of the mowing.