Turf Wars and American Lawns

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Photo: Mark Steil/MPR
Photo: Mark Steil/MPR

The American lawn can look like it's been around forever. Smooth, green and - if you're lucky - trim, it stretches over millions of acres of American landscape. It carpets America's suburbs and frames our standard vision of home.

But it is a modern invention in its ubiquity. And not everyone loves the lawn. It's good for croquet. Not so good for the environment. And around this time of summer, you may be a little tired of mowing it.

So let's hear it out. We've got a top lawn guru with us, and a bone-deep foe of lawns.

This hour, On Point: Turf wars, and the future of what grows in your yard.Guests:
Paul Robbins, professor of geography at University of Arizona, author of "Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are."
Trey Rogers, professor of turfgrass management at Michigan State University, author of "Lawn Geek: Tips and Tricks for the Ultimate Turf from the Guru of Grass."
Barbara Damrosch, co-owner of Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine, she writes the weekly column "A Cook's Garden" for The Washington Post, and is out with a new edition of her book, "The Garden Primer."

"Turf War," a recent article by Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker, looks at the history of the American lawn and its critics.
You can keep up with Trey Rogers' 2008 Olympic Field team at their blog.

This program aired on July 22, 2008.


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