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Law ‘N Lawns - Letter to the Editor
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by Frank Ierardi | 2007

Between the law and the lawn

I enjoyed the “Living Green” article by Betty Brody in the Summer issue of Chesapeake. I agree with her point that there are better ways to keep one’s land than as a lawn. In fact, I have been trying to follow that advice by reforesting about an acre of land adjacent to parkland in Montgomery County. In her article Betty states “But wait . . . you needn’t have a lawn at all. You can replace your lawn with low maintenance native bushes, trees and ground covers.”

Unfortunately, Montgomery County does not go along with that idea. Any land zoned residential must be mowed. While this may make sense in developments where homes are on 1/4 acre lots, where I live, there is no public water supply, so homes are on 2 acre or larger lots. The “lawns” are therefore a couple of acres in size. My attempt at reforesting met with resistance.

This past February, a Montgomery County inspector told me I had to mow the land being reforested. When I explained that there were a number of seedlings hidden in the tall grass, he said the land was zoned residential so it had to be mowed. The irony is that when the County plants trees in residential area, just the opposite is true. It is illegal to mow those areas. When I contacted my county councilman, Michael Knapp, about this problem, he was not interested in the issue. So, while Betty Brody’s idea is excellent, Montgomery County remains hostile to anything but lawns.


Frank Ierardi

Gaithersburg, MD 20882



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