Could Weeding be the Next Big Status Symbol?

Weeding my driveway instead of using chemical weed killers.

Weeding my driveway instead of using chemical weed killers.

I wonder. It seems that everything old is new again, doesn’t it? Not that weeding was ever a status-symbol activity, but green lifestyle choices such weeding instead of using chemicals are gaining momentum (thankfully!).

One place we need to be especially careful is at the shore, near a river or stream, or any body of water. Yup, I’m talking about your vacation house.

Fertilizers and weed-killing chemicals used in landscaping can adversely affect nearshore waters and marine life. You don’t have to be a marine biologist to understand that anything applied to landscaping abutting a body of water will soak into the soil and potentially run off into the water.

Nutrients from fertilizers can over stimulate algae growth, which in turn consume the dissolved oxygen fish and aquatic invertebrates need to live. And, here’s the kicker, even if it doesn’t seem to matter right away, eventually it’ll inversely affect fishing and recreation. Besides, who wants to eat even slightly toxic crabs or fish? Not me.

The EPA has a few guidelines for nearshore home owners:

  • Reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides.
  • Consider selecting plants and grasses with low maintenance requirements.
  • Water your lawn conservatively; the less water you use, the less runoff will eventually find its way into nearshore waters.
  • Preserve existing trees and plant new trees and shrubs to help prevent erosion and promote infiltration of water into the soil.
  • Restore bare patches in your lawn to prevent erosion.

All of this finds me weeding our 40-yard gravel driveway on the outer banks — our house is a mere 40 feet from the water. That is closer than a hiker is even allowed to pee near a stream in the wild.

If you use a landscaping service at your home, whether it’s on the water or not, why not inquire about hand weeding? It may be a tad more time-consuming and/or expensive, but it’s the greenest way to go. The hard part is going to be working all your green goodness into the next dinner party conversation.

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