Now Chris Packham says we should stop mowing our lawn! TV presenter says ‘bizarre habit’ is bad for nature after accusing Britons of ‘persecuting cockroaches and wasps’
- Presenter Packham, 59, said homeowners should think about letting gardens go
- He suggested instead of a cut lawn families might like wild flower patches
- The comment is backed up by other nature experts who agree with the idea
BBC TV naturalist Chris Packham today called on millions of British homeowners to stop mowing their lawns – because it is bad for nature.
The Springwatch presenter, 59, insists we should give up on the national obsession and let our grasses grow wild.
He admitted he knew why people enjoyed kicking a ball of sunbathing on freshly mowed lawns, but he said they could see ‘enormous riches’ if they stopped the cut.
Instead he wants Britons to cultivate wild flower patches, encouraging mini eco systems and boosting wildlife.
Packham said: ‘The monoculture of grass which you continually mow to prevent it from reproducing is a very bizarre habit when you think about it.
Presenter Chris Packham has previously defended wasps and cockroaches against hostility
‘We enjoy the diversity of nature – why not enjoy that on your patch? A lot of people’s patches is a lawn.
‘I appreciate that the kids may want somewhere to kick a football and you may want somewhere to lay a towel and do some sunbathing or whatever else, so it’s a question of getting the balance right.
‘But if you have space and you can give the lawn over to a wild flower patch then you will see enormous riches as a result.
‘Firstly, flowers which are a lot more interesting than most grasses. Grass flowers are pretty cool but not the ones people normally have in their lawns.
The science behind his latest comments did seem to stack up that mowing could be bad
The lawn ultimatum
Lawns can be bad for the environment as homeowners battle for the perfect garden.
The Natural Resources Defense Council say across the country, lawns consume nearly 3 trillion gallons of water a year, 200 million gallons of petrol for mowers and 70 million pounds of pesticides.
It adds: ‘You may also know that turf grass, however welcoming it looks for our bare feet, provides virtually no habitat for pollinators and other animals and plants that make up a healthy, diverse ecosystem.
‘In fact, these lawns can do substantial harm to the environment and to both vertebrates and insects.
Birds, for instance, may ingest berries and seeds that have absorbed pesticides from the ground.
Likewise, rainwater runoff from lawns can carry pesticides and fertilizers into rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans via the sewer system. This can poison fish and other aquatic animals and harm humans who swim, surf, and eat seafood that may be contaminated. And then, of course, lawn mowers can pollute the air.’
‘Then you’ve got all the insects, a myriad of insects – bees, flies, wasps and beetles.
‘And all of the things that in turn eat those, so all of the invertebrate predators – spiders and the things that hunt them – and then the birds come too.’
His advice is at odds with the Royal Horticultural Society, which recommends mowing the lawn twice a week during the summer.
But he said the long lawns would soon welcome insects including bees, flies, wasps and beetles as well as spiders.
Previous research has suggested in one year we spent more than £50 million on lawn fertilisers and more than £125 million on lawn mowers, with an estimated 15 million lawns in the UK.
Packham made the comments on the Andy Jaye podcast and said it would be a ‘win win’ for homeowners and the environment to let it grow.
He added: ‘You begin to build a far richer community and of course it’s much easier to manage anyway, you only have to cut it once a year,
‘You can literally sit back on your deck chair on that part of the grass that remains and enjoy that law.’
Earlier this month Packham has said British nature lovers should not get ‘upset about the rainforest’ while ‘persecuting’ cockroaches and wasps on our own doorstep.
He bemoaned ‘armchair’ conservationists ahead of his new BBC Two nature documentary, filmed at a waterhole in Tanzania.
The waterhole was built to draw animals away from human water sources and reduce the competition for the precious resource.