Now that Gov. LePage’s bill to stop cities and towns from regulating pesticides has failed (“Legislative panel unanimously rejects pesticides bill,” May 18), South Portland’s new organic land care ordinance remains in effect. Some of my neighbors who’ve relied on conventional pesticides and fertilizers will need to learn new ways to care for their lawns and gardens by next spring. One of the easiest things we can do is adjust our mower height.

Grass does not benefit from being cut short. In fact, when it’s cut too short, with the yellow-white part near the roots showing, it suffers. The soil heats up and the grass can die through lack of moisture and shallow roots.

If the grass is left at least 3.5 inches tall, the soil stays cool and moist. The grass grows longer roots and thrives. Long, cool grass also provides greater surface for photosynthesis and allows the plants to store carbon from the atmosphere in the ground to provide food for the roots and soil life.

Sugar is also stored deep in the ground, creating rich humus. Also, deeper roots need less water. The whole growing process works better.

As I walk through the neighborhood I see that a number of people are also experiencing the benefit of longer grass, as a cool, healthy lawn. A tall-cut cool lawn is soft to tread on not only because the grass is longer but also, most importantly, because of the thriving soil life below the surface.

Doing so helps the environment and cares for the soil without toxic chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Rachel Burger

South Portland

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