It's springtime, so homeowners in Oklahoma, Texas and across the United States are out manicuring their lawns and getting ready to groom their garden beds. Part of this ritual is spraying the yard for weeds, but experts are urging homeowners to keep the weeds in their lawns.

The picture of the American Dream has always included a home with a white picket fence and a lush, green lawn that's weed-free. It takes a lot of effort to reach that quality of lawn, and it always includes spraying chemicals to get rid of the eyesores.


But did you know that this practice has been slowly harming the environment?

Even though a green, weed-free lawn is appealing to the human eye, it's unflattering to insects, which has lead to the decrease in insect populations. These monoculture lawns have also caused other environmental issues, like drought, which leads to depleting lakes, ponds and rivers, reducing drinking water, and making it easier for wildfires to spark.

U.S. Drought Monitor
U.S. Drought Monitor

Why do we think weeds are bad?

According to an article from the Canadian Broadcast Association, the word "weed" has a negative connotation. The plants we consider "weeds" are actually just plants people don't want in their yards. Therefore the need to have a uniform lawn that's weed-free is actually just a manufacturing of an image of what's considered a "beautiful yard."

What weeds should be kept?

Any flowering plant, like dandelions, are the greatest benefit to pollinators and they attract birds, according to the article from the CBC. Milkweed is an important "weed" for homeowners in Oklahoma and Texas to keep around as there are the main food source for some of the areas' most important insects, especially the monarch butterfly.

And one rule homeowners can keep for their lawns is "if it hurts to step on with bare feet, it goes." Those who live in southern states know of stickers all too well, so those might be some weeds to get rid of.

READ MORE: Avoid These Eight Poisonous Plants In Your Yard

Think of your lawn as a mini-ecosystem, not a crop.

The reason why it's important for homeowners to think differently about their lawns is because urban areas, lawns collectively, are now some of the largest green spaces and these areas can have a drastic impact on the environment. According to an article from PBS, there has been a surge of gardeners, homeowners and even landscapers that are now seeing monoculture lawns as a threat and are moving away from this practice.

Some people are planting miniature wildflower gardens around their yards and others are experimenting with more "eco-friendly" lawns, embracing native grasses. Others are mowing less and keeping weeds in their yards.

More ways to make your lawn more eco-friendly.

If you're not ready to drastically change your lawn, here's a few ways to get started on making your lawn more eco-friendly.

  1. Set your mower blade high
  2. Leave the lawn clippings
  3. Stop spraying your lawn with chemicals
  4. Water less often
  5. Stop using your timed sprinkler
  6. Don't mow weird parts of your lawn
  7. Leave the leaves on the lawn

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