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posted: 1/30/2013 12:54 PM

Native landscape expert to discuss 'weed wars'

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  • Brett Rappaport

      Brett Rappaport

  • The perception of the difference between what is a weed and what is a wildflower will be discussed Feb. 5 at the Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones meeting at Fremont Public Library.

      The perception of the difference between what is a weed and what is a wildflower will be discussed Feb. 5 at the Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones meeting at Fremont Public Library.
    Courtesy of Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones

 
Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones submission

One person's weed is another person's wildflower and that difference in perception has led to "weed wars" as homeowners strive to convince others to go native.

Join the Lake-to-Prairie Chapter of Wild Ones and attorney Brett Rappaport, an expert on native landscapes, to discuss natives, weeds, and the ordinances that define them from 7 to 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at Fremont Public Library, 1170 North Midlothian Road, Mundelein.

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Far too often, efforts to create a more natural landscape have met with resistance rooted in ignorance or misinformation. The weapon most often used to try to bring natural landscapers into conformity with the American lawn ethic is the local weed ordinance.

What are weed ordinances, and why are they applied to natural landscapes? In a suburban culture in which a lush carpet of green grass is the norm, ambiguous weed laws have been used by neighbors and village officials to prosecute those who choose to "grow" vs. those who argue that all in the town must "mow."

A big difference exists, however, between a yard full of noxious, invasive weeds and an intentionally planted natural landscape.

Weed laws are generally "complaint-driven" statutes; that is, someone must file a complaint to activate them and nearly all weed ordinance prosecutions are rooted in neighbor-to-neighbor disputes that often are initially unrelated to natural landscaping.

The first step is to educate yourself so you can tell your neighbor the difference between monarda and chicory.

Bret Rappaport is an adjunct English professor at Dominican University and a partner with the Chicago law firm of Hardt Stern & Kayne. He is nationally recognized for his knowledge of and commitment to the preservation of the natural heritage by educating about and advocating for native landscapes, wildflowers, and prairies.

There is no fee and registration is not required.

For information, contact Rick Sanders at (224) 377-8201 or Lake2Prairie.WildOnes@gmail.com, or visit [URL]http://www.wildones.org/chapters/lake2prairie/;http://http://www.wildones.org/chapters/lake2prairie/[URL].

Lake-to-Prairie is a chapter of Wild Ones, a national not-for-profit organization that promotes the use of native plants in landscapes. [/URL]

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