Vinegar might encourage neighbors to mow lawn
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
I’m probably going to annoy some people but the great thing about this column is that it appears on the Opinions page. So, as a disclaimer, let me say this is only my opinion: I am so tired of talking about grass.
It has to be every small-town reporter’s dismay when, in spring and summer, the grass-cutting complaints begin.
It is hardly an issue in rural areas, mainly because those areas are filled with woodlands and fields. People in rural areas like grass; it serves as a barrier between neighbors who really do not care for each other.
People in incorporated areas hate grass if it grows over an inch but they all have big ole’ plants throughout their yards that resemble green, shaggy dogs and gigantic leaves from a rainforest.
Before those who have been angrily eyeing their neighbor’s lawn begin booing me, let me clarify before I say much more: I understand all the concerns associated with abandoned or neglected properties. They invite insects and rodents to make their homes there and pose debris threats during storms. Those properties are not the best to look at and if I put effort into making my home and lawn look presentable, I would hope my neighbors would, too.
However, the grass issue gets out of hand. Every meeting I attended in the past two months has zeroed in on grass complaints (except Jeff Davis Parish School Board meetings. And, for that, I thank them.)
You can even see the weariness in local elected officials’ faces when someone brings up grass. Sadness fills the meeting room.
In fact, the grass issue follows me everywhere. Just this morning while chatting with co-workers over coffee, one said, “My neighbors drive me insane. They never cut their grass. I cut grass every week. My yard looks so nice and neat but you see theirs and it’s like, ‘You are healthy. You have a lawn mower in your yard. Why don’t you use it?’”
I don’t know why these people are not mowing their lawns. Personally, I would not mow my lawn just to annoy my neighbors, so maybe all the people ignoring their growing grass in your neighborhood just don’t like you. Maybe they are telling you, “ Kiss my grass.”
From where I sit in municipal meetings, getting a property owner to maintain their lawn is a fight that is a waste of time and money on the parts of citizens and officials. Here’s why I say this: without including the legal jargon, a governing body has to send a certified letter to the homeowner asking them to please mow the lawn. Homeowner ignores the letter. After a few more attempts, the town can go onto the property and mow. The cost of the mowing is either paid immediately or in installments by the homeowner or, if the homeowner refuses to pay just like they refuse to mow, the mow cost is added to their property tax tab. If the town gets its money, good; does the town typically see its money? Not for a few years. People who ignore certified letters and bills typically disregard taxes, too. So now the parish has to decide what to do about the back taxes, which usually leads to some type of lien, seizure or sheriff’s sale. So between three to five years down the road, according to what several area mayors and council members have told me, the town will finally be reimbursed for the work it put into the property.
Meanwhile, law and ordinance abiding, tax-paying citizens foot the bill until that money is recovered.
So basically the same person complaining about the grass being overgrown ends up paying for it to be cut. There are other factors that play into the situation but, overall, it’s a no-win situation. If you have to cut a citizen’s yard once, you’ll probably have to do it again.
However, since I do feel this is a concern for some neighbors but a headache for officials, here is what I think you should do: sneak onto your neighbor’s property in the middle of the night and kill their grass. I personally use vinegar for weeds in my yard but it works wonders at killing grass in 24-48 hours. It’s also cheap and non-toxic. Just saturate the entire area with vinegar (preferably on a warm or hot day).
I’m just sayin’, I would be willing to help you with that if I never had to sit through another discussion concerning lawn mowers and grass.
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