Bob Flowerdew sparks fury for urging homeowners to rip up turf

High-profile organic gardener Bob Flowerdew has attracted criticism after urging homeowners to rip up their lawns.

The Gardeners’ Question Time panelist attracted from turf growers after penning an article recently suggesting that having a lawn may be seen as bad as driving a gas-guzzling vehicle.

Turf figures pounced as soon as the article was published in Amateur Gardening's 18 August issue in which Flowerdew said drier summers and increasing frequency of hosepipe bans meant scorched turf would become more likely in years to come.

Lindum managing director Stephen Fell told Horticulture Week: "Mr Flowerdew is obviously trying to grab a headline with his ludicrous assertion that maintaining a lawn is bad for the environment. The exact opposite is the case.

"Not only is grass the perfect green lung of urban areas, absorbing CO2 and producing oxygen, cooling our cities and absorbing rainfall, allowing water to filter back into the aquifers, but it is the perfect leisure space.

"More worryingly, Mr Flowerdew is obviously not aware of new grass species and cultivars that tolerate drought extremely well, and others that don’t need mowing very often. It would be far more positive to talk about rainwater harvesting.

"It is one of the biggest scandals that so much rainwater rushes into the sewers when for a modest investment it could be used, along with new grass-breeding technology, to keep our land green and pleasant with no need to feel guilty about it."

Paul Dawson, managing director of turf grower Rolawn, told Daily Mail Online: "Lawns have significant environmental benefits, producing oxygen, filtering water back into aquifers and reducing flooding."

And Q-Lawns marketing manager Angela Lambert told Amateur Gardening: "People in the UK want a lawn; it’s a quintessentially British Garden Feature. It’s good of Bob to provoke debate but lawns are attractive to wildlife."

Amateur Gardening editor Tim Rumball said: "It’s a load of old compost. Take away the lawn and you’re left with a jungle and nowhere to walk, relax and enjoy all your efforts."

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