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Homeowner sparks debate with photo of neighbor's regrettable lawn replacement decision: 'We can do better'

"It … presents numerous health risks."

“It ... presents numerous health risks."

Photo Credit: iStock

It's a problem upon a problem for one person who posted to the r/Wellthatsucks subreddit. 

"My neighbor has weeds in his fake grass," the Redditor wrote earlier this year, sharing a photo of a muted green menace sprouted in artificial turf.

Photo Credit: u/jayhawkeye2 / Reddit

There's no such thing as weed-free living, even if you install artificial turf or landscape fabric. Seeds are carried in the wind and by wildlife and can sprout wherever they land.

One commenter noted weeds had sprouted in their truck bed.

Additionally, plastic-based grass products can do more harm than good. They keep water and air from reaching the soil underneath and organic biodegradables from mixing with the soil. Worms can't effectively aerate the soil, and the cost of turf and fabric is prohibitive.

Turf is particularly dangerous, as it has been linked to extreme health hazards, including deadly brain cancer in six Major League Baseball players who spent much of their careers on the surface.

The material — first installed in Houston's Astrodome in 1966, known by the decidedly more eyebrow-raising name ChemGrass — includes per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs). Also called forever chemicals, PFAS don't break down in the environment.

For many, the solution is simple: Avoid artificial turf and its relatives.

"We can do better," said Daryl Lindsey, who founded YardFarmer.co.

"It puts more plastic into landfills, contributes to heat island effect, presents numerous health risks, and harms the soil ecology underneath," Lindsey also wrote on TikTok last August.

The commenters on this Reddit post voiced similar concerns.

"It's expensive, hot, and a b**** to clean," one user said.

Another weighed the appearance factor: "​​It's always been a little strange to me that people care so much about how their lawns look. I had a neighbor who spent a ton of time and money making sure his grass looked like this. Of course, then you have people like this who just cheat and get the fake stuff."

Someone else noted: "Astroturf is [a] food desert for bugs, but so is a monoculture grass lawn.

"Native planting is the way to go to help feed native pollinators. I'm working to convert my landscape and remove turf but it's hard work and takes time."

Native plants and animals form mutualistic relationships, benefiting each other and supporting local ecosystems. The flora can prevent erosion, lower water usage, and reduce flooding.

Such vegetation also draws in pollinators and even surprise guests, who may be enticed by less maintenance and the absence of fertilizers and pesticides.

In other words, all that effort can be well worth it.

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