Green grass with seed fronds with barbs at the end.
Foxtail, which is found in many places in Seattle, has seeds can embed into dogs' noses, ears, and paw pads, posing a potentially deadly threat. Keep canines away. (Natalie Bicknell Argerious)

Summertime gets us thinking about a whole bunch of stuff, including grass. In cities across North America, grass yards are often a symbol of wealth and success and in many areas they have a cult status. But what are some of the pros and cons of covering land in a plant monoculture? What happens when deadly grasses like foxtail invade? And is it true that with the right conditions synthetic turf can melt?

A yard with bird and bee friendly plants in lieu of grass in Grand Rapids, MI. (Photo by Natalie Bicknell Argerious)

We discuss all of these questions and more in this episode. While we look forward to you listening, if you are a dog or outside cat owner and don’t know yet about how dangerous foxtail is, please also take a moment to check out this article from WebMD. It’s seriously scary stuff, and the more pet owners know about how to keep their pets safe, the better. Let’s keep the furry ones safe.

We would love to hear your plans for a yard without grass.  Reach out to us at podcast [at]  

As always, you can find The Urbanist podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and other major platforms. And if you are enjoying the podcast, be sure to offer a “like” or “thumbs up” on your favorite platform. It’s a great way to spread the word to new listeners.

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Natalie Bicknell Argerious (she/her) is a reporter and podcast host at The Urbanist. She previously served as managing editor. A passionate urban explorer since childhood, she loves learning how to make cities more inclusive, vibrant, and environmentally resilient. You can often find her wandering around Seattle's Central District and Capitol Hill with her dogs and cat. Email her at natalie [at] theurbanist [dot] org.