and lawnmowers everywhere fall into disrepair
July 14, 2006 6:10 AM   Subscribe

The end of the lawnmower era is nigh. Microbiologist Joanne Chory may change the face of suburban one-upmanship as we know it. Imagine a weekend morning without the sound of lawnmowers. Can it really be just around the corner? Will men be willing to terminate their love/hate (mpg) relationships with their lawns? After all, a man and his mower are not easily parted.
posted by pmbuko (52 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I don't know who said it first, but, "I wish my lawn was emo so it would cut its self."
posted by klaruz at 6:20 AM on July 14, 2006


Interesting, however I suspect there shall be a long wait between "nigh" and "upon us"
posted by poppo at 6:25 AM on July 14, 2006


I wouldn't necessarily say, 'disrepair'
posted by arialblack at 6:36 AM on July 14, 2006


That would mean I could put my lawnmower engine into a go-kart. Yay!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:40 AM on July 14, 2006


Or in the above case, your go-kart engine into a mower.
posted by IronLizard at 6:41 AM on July 14, 2006


This reminds me of that chapter in Bradbury's "Dandelion Wine".
posted by hermitosis at 6:46 AM on July 14, 2006


Or we can just use them to visit our brothers.
posted by languagehat at 6:52 AM on July 14, 2006


Meh. I've seen this promised several times over the past two decades. I'm not going to hold my breath.
posted by Zinger at 6:58 AM on July 14, 2006


Bonsai just got much easier. Mr. Miyagi will have to find new ways to pass the time.
posted by itchylick at 7:06 AM on July 14, 2006


Of course, you could just get an artificial lawn
posted by utsutsu at 7:07 AM on July 14, 2006


Every home and garden trade show for the past thirty years has promised the imminent arrival of this amazing breakthrough in grass technology.
posted by daveleck at 7:07 AM on July 14, 2006


I will not buy no-mow grass
I will not sit through summers on my big fat ass
I will not throw away my beloved mower
I will not let science push me any lower
posted by parmanparman at 7:08 AM on July 14, 2006


It will be a cold day in hell before I stop mowing my father's lawn every week.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 7:17 AM on July 14, 2006


It will be a cold day in hell before I stop mowing my father's lawn every week.

Could you come by and do mine as well? 'Cause I'm getting pretty sick of it.
posted by languagehat at 7:56 AM on July 14, 2006


Why Mow? Let's get rid of lawns altogether.
posted by driveler at 7:59 AM on July 14, 2006


Imagine a weekend morning without the sound of lawnmowers.

You know, obnoxious lawnmower noise is one reason I bought an old timey reel mower. I don't mind the physical labor. I like watching the grass get cut through the blades.

My neighbors hate it. I try to cut the grass when they aren't around, lest they walk into my yard to tell me how much better and faster and easier this could be done with a gas mower. If they don't directly comment to me about it, then they sit outside and watch me do it. I thought I could get this done when they are at work, but I have retired people 2 houses down that watch me cut grass as a spectator sport.

Avoidence of their busybody commentary is why my grass never gets done.

Thank god the privacy fence is going up tomorrow.
posted by pieoverdone at 8:07 AM on July 14, 2006


Mr. Miyagi will have to find new ways to pass the time.

Like by being dead?
posted by terrapin at 8:08 AM on July 14, 2006


I use a rechargable electric mower and I love it. I get hours of charge time and it is much quieter than gas-powered mowers. And it will have to do until my wife gets her way and we get sheep.
posted by terrapin at 8:10 AM on July 14, 2006


I will not buy no-mow grass
I will not sit through summers on my big fat ass
I will not throw away my beloved mower
I will not let science push me any lower


This kind of reminds me of my grandmother Swan's reaction to the advent of factory sliced bread (as reported by my dad, as I was NOT around at the time):

"Sliced bread! What will they think of next! How can anyone be so lazy?!"
posted by orange swan at 8:14 AM on July 14, 2006


I'm into a multi year project to replace the lawn with clover, grows so high and stops. Good for the soil, nice to walk on etc. Monoculture grass pisses me off. We haven't mowed in about a month becasue it has been pretty dry and the grass hasn't grown much, but compared to our neighbors who seem to mow weekly no matter what, our lawn is green and theirs is dieing off.
posted by edgeways at 8:16 AM on July 14, 2006


Every week, the landscapers come and "shave" the neighbors' lawns. And then they break out the even-louder, even-more-polluting leaf blowers to blow the shavings around for a few minutes.

It's fucking ridiculous. It really proves that most people simply do not care about the environment.
posted by wfc123 at 8:17 AM on July 14, 2006


Sliced bread only really took off after WWII because of GI nostalgia for PBJ ready mades. Seriously.
posted by edgeways at 8:17 AM on July 14, 2006


Mr. Miyagi will have to find new ways to pass the time.

Like by being dead?


I knew someone would point that out. Think of "Mr. Miyagi" as a loving reference to all bonsai enthusiasts.
posted by itchylick at 8:37 AM on July 14, 2006


One nice thing about living in a condo-complex is that all the lawn mowing is done by the staff during the work-week. So that I don't have to do it myself and I don't have to hear my neighbor's mowing at 8:00AM on Saturday. I hate lawns, if I had my own land I'd probably pave it over and paint the concrete green.
posted by octothorpe at 8:44 AM on July 14, 2006


Or we can just use them to visit our brothers.

Or we can just use them to kill our ravenous, giant, zombie mothers.
posted by Gamblor at 8:47 AM on July 14, 2006


You know, obnoxious lawnmower noise is one reason I bought an old timey reel mower. ... My neighbors hate it.

You want to freak them out totally and absolutely? Buy a good scythe and use that to mow the lawn.
posted by Creosote at 8:48 AM on July 14, 2006



posted by Joeforking at 8:51 AM on July 14, 2006 [2 favorites]


Take away the water greedy grass and some of us would have to look into drainage. I'm already having to cut a trench because my neighbor's downspouts pour into a small section of my yard. I'm planting deep rooted prairie grass near the house tho. I love lawns. They're great to lay on and they don't have the hazards of public space grass (cigarette butts, dog poo, etc.).
posted by Smedleyman at 8:53 AM on July 14, 2006


addendum: display of technique for mowing your lawn with a scythe
posted by Creosote at 8:55 AM on July 14, 2006


addendum addendum: cute women showing off their snaths! (Or is that "snathes"?)
posted by Creosote at 8:59 AM on July 14, 2006


It will be a cold day in hell September before I stop mowing my lawn every week.

Some of the things I don't miss about living in a condo complex are the gas-powered mowers, gas-powered leaf blowers, gas-powered truck-mounted leaf vacuums, and (believe it or not) gas-powered mulch spreaders. Our house trim was white. The leaf blowers regularly turned the windowsills black with dirt. One day, they blew a two-inch diameter clump of moss onto the roof of my car. Take a deep breath of squirrel feces, everyone!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:10 AM on July 14, 2006


I mow, rake and bale my front yard 3 times a year - it's an 8 acre hay field.
posted by rfs at 9:21 AM on July 14, 2006


Doesn't "manipulating the steroid pathway" weird you out a bit? What about this idea instead:
Grass Greener With Paint -- AP, 05/07/02 (last story, scroll down)
posted by salvia at 9:22 AM on July 14, 2006


Oh, or -- best lawnmower ever. And so trendy.
posted by salvia at 9:27 AM on July 14, 2006


Oh, I forgot the gas-powered weed whackers and gas-powered snowblowers, and Poland.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:48 AM on July 14, 2006


But, I thought it was all the illegal immigrants that were mowing our lawns. Won't someone think of the illegal immigrants? ;-)

Those manual push mowers are often faster once you factor in getting the darn gas mower to start, clearing out the blades when they get gummed up with crabgrass, and emptying the bag once it gets full.
That, and they take up less space, are a decent way to exercise, and much better for the environment. :-)

Anyone ever mow your neighbors lawn because they never bothered and you were just sick of looking at it?
posted by drstein at 9:54 AM on July 14, 2006


Anyone ever mow your neighbors lawn because they never bothered and you were just sick of looking at it?

No, but I'm pretty sure the neighbors feel that way about me. I have 2 people coming over in the morning to rip it all up with me. In full view of Nosy across the alley and Retired 2 houses down. Down goes the grass! Up goes the fence!

But, I thought it was all the illegal immigrants that were mowing our lawns

At a former apartment I lived this group of random people of undetermined hispanic origin would show up and cut the grass along the sidewalk and leafblow everything up and down the street and then knock on people's doors and ask to be paid.
posted by pieoverdone at 10:10 AM on July 14, 2006


"Have you considered the phallic dimension of mowing?" Her thinking was that pushing out all that thrusting, throbbing motor mower in front of you, cutting a swathe (sic) through the rampaging grass and making nice straight lines fits the male desire to feel potent and to change the world.

You know who really enjoyed cutting his lawn? Hitler.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:06 AM on July 14, 2006


Creosote - you should have warned us that the site showing off women's snaths also shows them peening.
posted by QuietDesperation at 11:11 AM on July 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think leaf-blowers are the epitomy of western culture.

We're not actually going to clean this mess up, were just going to use this here machine to push the mess around a while until it's good and scattered.
posted by Raoul.Duke at 12:34 PM on July 14, 2006


lawns are evil... unless you play on them regularly. For looks alone, they are stupid.
posted by cell divide at 12:39 PM on July 14, 2006


Anyone ever mow your neighbors lawn because they never bothered and you were just sick of looking at it?

Nope, but I found my neighbor in my yard the other day mowing my lawn... with a lawnmower he then gave us. (He's a tinkerer who likes fixing up lawnmowers, and it pained him to see us hacking up the grass with a poor-quality reel mower.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:16 PM on July 14, 2006


The lawn has roots in feudal society -- the lords and ladies would prance around on the grass inside the castle walls, one of the few places that originally had lawns.

I also heard the lawn got popular in the US partially because it meant that you were rich enough to own a cow that needed to eat grass. I haven't found that written up yet, but did learn it in a cultural geography class. That's why the goat-mower seems so appropriate to me. :)
posted by salvia at 1:29 PM on July 14, 2006


I just sold my house this week and moved back to a downtown condo because I hated yard work so fucking much. True.

Don't fall for hype, kids. Lawns are for suckers. They are simply the fiendish way wives keep husbands meaninglessly occupied.
posted by tkchrist at 5:07 PM on July 14, 2006


It's a rare lawn that has nothing growing in it but a single variety of grass. The most important effect of mowing is that it keeps knocking the incipient climax forest that is your lawn back to the grass'n'grain stage of forest succession.
posted by jfuller at 5:24 PM on July 14, 2006


Like by being dead?

how could this be? I only just found out!!?!?
posted by sunshinesky at 6:22 PM on July 14, 2006


Mow the lawn? I'd rather be flying.

Get your own SkyCutter (and other RC aerodynamic impossibilities) from FlyingThingz.
posted by cenoxo at 8:47 PM on July 14, 2006


This will be great! For about two weeks until dandelions take over the world.

btw, if anyone lets grass like this loose in my pastures I'm going to be pissed, but not nearly as pissed as the guy down the street with the commercial hay operation. Just so you know.
posted by fshgrl at 8:49 PM on July 14, 2006


Anyone ever mow your neighbors lawn because they never bothered and you were just sick of looking at it?

Unacceptable. I don't believe in yards, violence, or even private (land) property, but I'd still punch you in the face if you mowed my lawn.

There's nothing wrong with long grass and weeds, is there? I mean, really?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:40 PM on July 14, 2006


The lawn is a farking mystery to me. I've got a massive front lawn (I was forced to buy a house in this one place) and it just sucks. It's in the front, for one thing, and people don't go in the front yard. So it's just this water-sucking thing, about 150 feet long.

I ripped out the back "lawn" (weeds) and covered as much as I could afford in patio and crushed granite. Left a little patch of lawn for the kids and such, and it's fine.

The sick thing is that the natural landscape where I live at the moment is Great Basin desert -- all pretty sage brush and desert peach and rabbit brush and juniper and pinon, all nicely spaced apart. It's right there; I walk the dog every day in this handsome landscape. But they scrape it all away to build these houses, and then you're forced to spend THOUSANDS every year to keep the shit trimmed up and ugly ... and maintain idiot sprinkler systems to feed the lawn you hate.

(Yes, I've made mistakes. Yes, I'm in the process of moving the hell away.)
posted by kenlayne at 12:03 AM on July 15, 2006


I have a good reel mower. I love it. It kicks ass on all gas and electric mowers: it is quiet, it slices the grass instead of bashing it, it pushes easier and is more maneuverable, and, I repeat, is quiet. Snick-snick-snick... almost meditative.

Except that my lawn is a freakin' hill, steeper than is reasonable. I hate mowing the lawn, because it's a physical strain to walk on this steep hill, pushing a mower, one foot always striking lower than the other. Guh.

Consequently, I have decided to utterly neglect the lawn. I live in a desert-ish climate. The lawn is brown. I do not care. It isn't appropriate to this ecology, it isn't as attractive as a flowerbed would be, isn't as useful as a garden: it is just a waste of space. Paint it green for all I care. Or just leave it brown.

When I get the chance, the lawn is being disappeared, and drought-tolerant shrubberies are going in. The quail will love that!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:57 PM on July 15, 2006


My kids like to run around on our lawn, so I keep it.
posted by mecran01 at 10:53 AM on July 16, 2006


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