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The Lawn Police Keep an Eye on the Grass

by Kelly Richardson, All About Lawns Columnist

Beware of the lawn and grass police. In Baltimore, and in communities across the country, local authorities enforce timely maintenance of home lawns.

It may be hard to believe, but some people's job is to survey lawns and make sure they're not left to grow too long. According to the Associated Press, Sophia Jennings, a Baltimore County code enforcement officer, is such a person. Everyday she checks on residents who are not in compliance with rules about overgrown lawns.

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Lawn Grass: A Foot High Is Too High

In many American jurisdictions, letting grass grow more than a foot high, or 8 inches in some cities, is against the law.

In some jurisdictions, the grass "police" come in the form of code enforcement officers. In others, public works officials or environmental health workers are assigned to the task.

"We actually have a grass ruler," said Tommie Houck, chief of zoning enforcement for Harford County in Maryland, according to a wire report.

Short Grass Means Nice Neighborhood

The goal is an esthetic one. Letting lawns go unkempt is often perceived as the first step in a decline of a neighborhood. The state of neighborhood lawns is seen as an indicator for a neighborhood as a whole.

Officials also say that overgrown grass isn't only a visual blight. Tall, unkempt lawn grass can become breeding grounds for insects and rodents.

Police Keep Weeds Out

While most residents eventually do address lawn overgrowth, in Baltimore local authorities will eventually step in and do the landscaping themselves, sending out government crews or contractors to slice through weeds and grass. Violators foot the bill for the work. In these towns, it's another incentive to mow the lawn.


  • Associated Press

About the Author
Kelly Richardson has obsessive compulsive lawn disorder and is afflicted with the need to share his knowledge with the world. Kelly writes lawn columns for a variety of home and garden magazines and e-zines.

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