The debate over artificial lawns & wildlife

2 min read

EPA retracts artificial turf assurances

Artificial lawns and wildlife are not natural bedfellows. Gardeners abandoning their lawnmowers should re-consider. Artificial lawns may harm local wildlife.  Moreover, many animals shelter from intensive farming in our gardens.

The Dorset Wildlife Trust on artificial lawns and wildlife.

Joy Wallis of the Dorset Wildlife Trust is one of many arguing against…

Creatures can’t survive in the countryside because it is so full of chemicals. So they retreat into gardens. Birds get nothing from artificial grass. They can’t dig for worms or anything like that”.

Amateur Gardening

Tim Rumball, Editor of Amateur Gardening magazine understands the appeal but sees the spread of artificial lawns as a worrying development:-

“When grass grows longer, it attracts insects. If you have an artificial lawn then these insects will be depleted.

The whole of the food chain will be affected, especially birds that rely on insects.”

Mrs Wallis agrees “an increase in the use of artificial grass will add to the decline of wildlife. It seems a shame that people haven’t got the time or the inclination to look after a lawn.”

Opinions on artificial lawns go beyond environmental concerns. When Easigrass was used in a prize-winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show Telegraph writer Stephen Lacey called artificial grass ‘embarrassing’.

He insisted it “belongs with plastic flowers and chocolate fountains. Fine for a party venue ..but not where you want to engage with nature. Mowing and inhaling the smell of grass are part of being British”.

An artificial lawn reduces the garden space so important to birds and hedgehogs. Why have a lawn if you can’t enjoy the smell when you mow?

Can you watch worms and blackbirds? What about the cooling effect created by a lawn on a hot day ? Can you wiggle your toes in an artificial lawn? The benefits of a natural lawn outweigh those of an artificial lawn”


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