In Florida, Extremists Push Legislation to Ban Grass!

By Allyn Paul, filed under Lawn Life News.

This story comes from Lawn and Landscape Magazine. The reason I’m sharing this is that it goes to show what extremism on issues can do. On one extreme, you have homeowners who are over-watering or at least mis-watering their lawns and wasting a precious resource. On the other extreme, you have people who think the solution is to outlaw grass!

This thinking, friends, is dangerous! Read the article…

Lake County, Fla., commissioners appear to be backing away from a proposed ban on St. Augustine grass on new homes and developments.

The backpedaling came Tuesday after representatives from Florida’s sod industry pleaded with commissioners to rethink the proposed ban, part of a new landscape ordinance in the works for Lake County.

Irrigation controls, water-saving technologies and education would be more effective than banning a grass that can sometimes be more resilient than other drought-resistant varieties, those industry leaders argued during a Tuesday county commission workshop.

Simply banning a grass instead of encouraging methods for water conservation doesn’t get commissioners to the ultimate goal of saving water, said David Dymond, board member with the Florida Sod Growers Cooperative and general manager of a sod growing business.

“The main purpose of this ordinance is to save water,” Dymond said. “It’s not a plant or variety issue. It’s a usage issue.”

Commissioner Linda Stewart took a similar tack, saying there were larger issues at hand than a certain type of grass.

“The goal here is not to ban anything, it’s to conserve water,” she said.

The county’s proposed landscaping ordinance is aimed at curtailing water use on irrigation, which the St. Johns River Water Management District says represents up to 50 percent of water consumption in the county.

Original plans showed Lake banning St. Augustine grass from any new home or commercial developments as part of an effort to reduce irrigation.

Banning the grass could affect the local economy, said Jim Spratt, director of governmental affairs for the Florida Nursery Growers Association. Lake alone saw more than $458 million in sales from the nursery and sod industry in 2005, he said.

“That’s no small potatoes by any stretch of the imagination,” Spratt said.

He could not estimate how much of that was represented by St. Augustine sod production.

Plus, some varieties of St. Augustine grass have a smaller decline in dry weather compared to other grass types, said Dymond and Keith Truenow, director of the Florida Sod Growers Association and owner of Lake Jem Farms.

If homeowners researched and knew exactly how to irrigate efficiently and correctly, they could still have green lawns without wasting water, Truenow said.

“We can have beautiful landscapes through education,” he said.

Commissioners were deriving new ways to limit the use of the grass without banning it outright.

Commissioner Elaine Renick suggested having new builders inspect to see which grass is best on new homes and developments. St. Augustine might be better in shady areas compared to other grasses that are more hearty in constant, direct sunlight.

“If the site were appropriate (for St. Augustine grass), I don’t see what the problem would be,” Renick said.

4 Responses to “In Florida, Extremists Push Legislation to Ban Grass!”

  1. In Florida, Extremists Push Legislation to Ban Grass! | MonkeyCrash Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    [...] This thinking, friends, is dangerous…Read the rest of : In Florida, Extremists Push Legislation to Ban Grass! [...]

  2. Clair Schwan of Libertarian Logic Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    This is yet another symptom of people in government feeling the need to control the behavior of others through preventive laws. It also shows a failure of those in government to recognize the adverse effect on individual liberty and free enterprise.

    Banning use of sod and banning a type of grass isn’t a good answer because it hurts free enterprise and infringes on personal choice. Instead of focusing on high water users (the many voters), the solution is to hurt sod producers (the fewer voters).

    People should be able to enjoy the grass they want, replace it with sod if they so choose, and use all the water they care to pay for to maintain it. It’s called freedom and we should get reacquainted with it.

    A better solution to government bans is to promote water conservation and establish a tiered water rate based on usage. This will naturally discourage waste as high water users will pay more for water.

    People using water can figure out what to do about the resource they are paying for – they don’t need government coercion to replace their (wise or unwise) decision-making.

    This keeps choice in the hands of individuals and takes away the one-size-fits-all approach that government often takes. The problem is water, not grass. What’s next? Should we ban washing cars, swimming pools, water slides and bathing our pets?

    Government goes too far, too often, and it’s all because we sit back quietly and follow those that think they are supposed to be our leaders.

    When you take decision-making out of the hands of free people, don’t be surprised if they develop a culture of expecting the government to make more and more of their decisions. Also, don’t be surprised when 20/20 hindsight causes them to blame government for unwise decisions.


  3. Allyn Paul Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    Thanks so much for the well constructed thoughts. I agree that balance is the key here, not extremes.

    I love grass all kinds of grass!

  4. John Yurich Says:
    4Avatars v0.3.1 v0.3.1

    No! grass, because of droughts my lawn is infested with chinch bugs and being allowed to water 4 hours per week dosen’t help. My lawn is brown with all weeds, in 9 years i’ve had 5 lawn service companys and they were of no use. I’ve tried every thing spent a lot of time and money for what? it’s useless i can’t afford it. I live in a subdivsion were supposed to have picture perfect lawns,right. Anyway no grass is fine with me.

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