It’s springtime and the pressure is on. For several weeks now I’ve been growing anxious as I watch the brown neighborhood grasses gradually turn to shades of green. Like other homeowners, I am on the lookout for that first dandelion or patch of crabgrass, sure signs that I’ve been delinquent in the care of my “back 40.” I am ready to stomp out each pesky weed that disfigures the hoped-for lush green carpet.
A lawn obsession like mine makes for good business. According to the Lawn Institute in Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, Americans spend $30 billion a year on 50,000 square miles of lawn. I’ve paced the aisles of the local lawn and garden center looking for the latest products that kill weeds or pummel them into submission. The poisons have names like “Roundup,” “Kick-Out Grass Killer” and “Weed-B-Gone” (in developing countries the names include “Machete,” “Lasso,” “Avenge” and “Pentagon”).