'Greening' Cincinnati's Weed Ordinance

Greening Cincinnati's Weed Ordinance

On June 11, 2011, Cincinnati City Council adopted revisions to the Weed Ordinance that allow for managed natural landscaping.

The code formerly defined noxious weeds as any and all grass, weeds and wild plants over 10 inches. That included a lot of desirable plants.

The Weed Ordinance was an example of how well-intentioned codes can sometimes keep us from "doing the right thing" environmentally. One small ordinance, the Weed Ordinance, was used to cite neglected properties but also to cite property owners who were trying to cultivate a diverse yard, not a monoculture of grass.

A diverse yard, which is naturally landscaped, does not mean "don't mow your grass," but rather allows residents and businesses to incorporate their yard as part of nature. Yards are a good place where people can demonstrate their interest and participation in the web of life by cultivating native plants, butterfly gardens, vegetable gardens, rain gardens and low maintenance native groundcovers.

A manicured lawn uses lots of fossil fuel to mow and often toxic chemicals to keep out anything but grass. A managed natural landscape does not require as much mowing or any toxic chemicals, can be more drought tolerant, and attracts birds and butterflies.

Cincinnati can be proud to join other municipalities in updating codes that allow for and sometimes even promote environmentally friendly practices.