Turf can seem tyrannical sometimes. It is grass for heavens's sake why is it so demanding?1?
This is a combination of how we define "perfection" and expect nature to fit a sometimes, rigid concept of beauty. The lawn many dream of is one free of "weeds" and composed of a single or maybe two seasonal grasses. Always green, no blemishes, doesn't have to be mowed often, doesn't need a lot of chemistry. It's kind of like asking it to be a supermodel. Something like someone with a body type, metabolism and skin-smoothess possessed by <1% of the population of billions of humans on this planet. We are asking the same from a grass (or grasses) dominating lawns. Here's another analogy. We have selected a 100s of plants to cover the majority of our landscape, planted our monoculture, and we expect them to all grow as beautifully and uniformly as the select rose or hydrangea cultivar taking a feature role in the yard. It's too much to ask of us and a lawn really. We can rethink lawns. I'll get to this in a subsequent post.
Lawns are also one of the major contributors of chemistry entering our waterways, water tables, air, and homes. Some of these chemistries demonstrably harmful to human health, (e.g. testosterone production, lung health). You shouldn't know this, btw. It's not your job as a homeowner or lover of your yard to know how chemistry can impact you, your pets, your neighbors. It is the responsibility of us in the industry helping guide and manage urban landscapes. However, we have limited responsibility in a sense as well. Many of the tests on different kinds of chemistries used in landscaping haven't been done. The complex interactions between fungicides, pesticides and herbicides - no one has done these studies. Science research takes money and money is limited, more and more for the science community, including those in agriculture, forestry, urban ecosystems, etc. However, I know, and you should expect me to know, that imidicloprid insecticides are harmful to neurotransmitters and have been shown to build up in human organs. So, when and how and where I apply them considers this. I should also know for the bird lovers out there, that fungicides building up in plant tissues and can make their way into fledgling nests and cause some birds developmental damage. So, your lawn care company should know this as well. You pay them to know this information and to train their staff. You pay them to test your soils every year to make sure they are adding the right chemistry at the right time to make a beautiful lawn. They should NOT have to add chemistry year after year after year. I'm going to expand on this more in another blog.
It is turf - time. Don't let it be tyrannical.