Is a mark of a suburbanite who cares about their property values and yard a lawn free of dandelions? In a recent walk, I saw this yard:
On a corner lot, this yard was filled with dandelions all around. And to compound the issue, two of the next three yards adjacent to this home looked similar.
What does this all mean? Is this a set of households devoted to eco-friendly lawn care? Or, is it a sign that the owners do not care about their property and/or their neighbors?
Remarkably, many of the nearby lots have no dandelions whatsoever. Even as these three lots have helped spread thousands of dandelion seeds, the weed killers used nearby have done their job. The whole neighborhood is not overrun with dandelions. The damage – mostly visual? – is contained to three lots.
At the same time, I could imagine some of the neighbors might not be happy about the situation. The optics of yards given over to dandelions might not play well in a middle-class neighborhood where green manicured lawns are an expectation. What kind of neighbors are these to subject others to this blight? What if someone was trying to sell their home nearby?
Soon enough, the most visible signs of these dandelions will be gone. The seeds will have scattered, contributing to windy days where the air is visibly full of plant matter. Will the neighbors forget the dandelions? Will they be back next year? Is all of this a matter of overwrought suburbanites policing their artificial nature known as a lawn? The grass and the weeds may be more than just that; they are markers of social class and social norms in suburbia.