Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ruled that a new genetically modified grass in development by Scott Miracle Gro is exempt from federal regulation on GMOs. While the news about the regulation is interesting and debatable, I’m having more of a “holy cow” moment just learning about the new grass. Here’s the story.

The new genetically modified grass isn’t on the market yet; it’s still in development. But it’s a variety of Kentucky bluegrass modified to be resistant to the weed killer glysophate, otherwise known as Roundup. The idea is that if you plant the Roundup-resistant grass, you can then spray your whole lawn with Roundup, one of the strongest weed killers around, and the weed killer will clear out everything except your GMO grass.

Pros and cons of a lawn resistant to weed killer

The plusses are, of course, that weed-killer-resistant grass makes it easy to have a pristine lawn, which is a nice thing. You could also possibly argue that an occasional application of Roundup might be better than all the other weed killers people are using now, trying to kill the weeds without hurting the lawn.

The negatives are fairly obvious as well. Roundup, like most herbicides, can be hazardous to the environment. When your lawn is genetically modified for the use of a specific weed killer, it’s unlikely you’re going to skip using that weed killer, even if your lawn doesn’t really need it. As has happened with other Roundup-ready GMOs, there’s also the risk that weeds will become resistant to Roundup, essentially starting an arms race where we develop harsher and harsher weed killers.

It’s a dicey issue. I see why people would want to buy this grass, and I see why other people might not want them to buy it. What do you think? GMO grass–would you or wouldn’t you?