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Seeing Dandelions In Chicago Parks? That's A Good Thing, City Says

"The sight of dandelions indicates a safe space for all park patrons to play on," according to the Park District.
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LINCOLN SQUARE — When it comes to lawn care, follow the Chicago Park District's lead and let your yard go to weeds.

Dandelions are often perceived as a sign of neglect — remember "Dandelion-gate," which might or might not have cost Pat Quinn the governorship? But in local parks, they signal that the city is making an effort to ensure its public lands are pesticide-free, the Park District said.

"The sight of dandelions indicates a safe space for all park patrons to play on," the Park District said in a statement announcing its ongoing partnership with the Midwest Pesticide Action Center.

The district shared a number of natural lawn care tips that folks can practice at home:

• Skip commercial fertilizers and go organic, which is as easy as leaving grass clippings on the lawn next time you mow.

• Keep your lawn mowed three inches or higher, which shades out weeds and increases root strength, helping grass withstand drought.

• Water longer, but less often. To encourage deep root growth, soak your lawn with an inch of water once a week. How do you know when you've hit an inch? Simple: Put a cup or other container in your yard while watering and when it fills up an inch, you're good to go.

The locally-based Action Center, founded in 1994 by a number of environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the Illinois Environmental Council, works to reduce the "the health risks and environmental impacts of pesticides by promoting safer alternatives."

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