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Lawns Away

September 09, 1990

An awesome amount of water is truly wasted around, not used by, landscapes as a result of poor maintenance, poor design and outdated equipment. Not so obvious is the waste of water invested in dilapidated plants. Allowed to depreciate through lack of maintenance, many landscapes are then redone with a new, somehow more desirable planting scheme, only to be neglected again. In the "There Oughta Be a Lawn," Smaus states that after three, five or 10 years of lawn ownership one can expect compacted soil, built-up thatch and lack of fertility. Of course pouring water on a lawn in this neglected condition doesn't improve its appearance. Given care, a grass lawn should perpetuate itself. Often held out as grass lawn substitutes, many popular ground covers are also notorious for requiring consistent care. Without proper care, these worthy plantings have surprisingly short and unattractive life spans. If we routinely replant with the thought that little or no maintenance will be required of us (the xeriscape-as-panacea syndrome), we are doomed to repeating cycles of repeating cycles of renovation and waste.

JOYCE THOMPSON

Tustin

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