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Stevens County Times Editorial: Take care of your lawn

Mowing your lawn and blowing some grass into the street may not seem like a big deal but it is.

Consider this: What if everyone did it? What if grass from dozens of lawns was blown into streets in cities across Stevens County?

Well, there would be at least one big mess somewhere. The reason cities such as Morris have ordinances banning blowing mowed grass into streets is to protect the city's storm sewer system and properties in the town. Hancock does not have an ordinance but it definitely encourages properties owners to not blow mowed grass into streets.

The big mess? Grass sites in the storm sewer system. As clippings build up so do potential clogs. A clogged sanitary sewer line causes water to back up in the street and on nearby properties during heavy rains or heavy snow melt. That backed up water can cause flooding in nearby homes.

Storm sewer water also drains into nearby waters. The rotted grass has a negative impact on the water discharged into the Pomme de Terre watershed, Morris City Manager Blaine Hill said.

And it's a mess to clean clogs of mowed grass from the storm sewer.

Flooding, messes, clogging, rotting, are disgusting. And can be costly if they cause damage and subsequent repairs, said Jodi Bedel, Hancock's city clerk.

It's not difficult to make three passes on the lawn before the mower blows cut grass toward the street instead of into the street. The three passes helps make sure cut grass is not blown into the street.

And on another grass and lawn subject, keep your lawns mowed.

Long grass invites weeds and creatures who shouldn't make their homes in yards.

Long grass is a nuisance and it's unattractive.

Unfortunately, in Morris long grass can also be a way to identify rental properties.

Recently, Hill identified 20 properties in Morris with long grass. Those 20 properties had a handful of owners, he said.

While 20 properties with long grass during a given week in Morris is a small percentage of properties, it's a big annoyance if you live next door or across the street or across backyards. The same could be said for any town in Stevens County.

Cities have policies or ordinances on grass height because such lawns are a nuisance.

Property owners need to practice responsible lawn care by not blowing cut grass into the street and not allowing grass to get too long. These aren't tough ordinances, policies or recommendations to follow. If you follow these practices, we encourage you to remind your neighbors. We'd also encourage you to report those who don't follow these practices.

If you think that it's trivial to worry about such practices then consider that it could be your basement flooding during the next big rain or it could be your long grass lawn where a rat makes its home.