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Counterpoint: Grasses provide both aesthetic and practical benefits

An article in the April 1 issue of Our Town [specifically in Your Garden] didn’t have a lot of good things to say about lawns. While we believe the author is entitled to her opinion, as grass seed growers in the area we are proud of the crop we produce and would like to point out some of the many benefits lawns provide.

First off, the article started by acknowledging a lush, green lawn looks beautiful and feels fabulous underfoot and can serve a purpose as a backdrop for picnics, sporting events or just lounging in the sun.

These are all true and valid points and, we believe, should not be dismissed as unimportant.

A healthy home lawn provides aesthetic benefits, environmental benefits, practical benefits as a playing surface for sports or just for kids having fun and even economic benefits in its ability to raise the value of a home as much as 15 percent, according to some estimates.

A healthy lawn can help cool the environment. One study showed that on a hot day, the surface of a lawn can be around 75 degrees Fahrenheit while a sidewalk or street can be well over 100 degrees.

Also, a healthy lawn of 50-feet-by-50-feet produces enough oxygen for a family of four.

And if you follow some simple steps, like setting your mowing height a little higher than you might think and leaving clippings on lawns, a lawn can take surprisingly little fertilizer, pesticides and water to maintain a lush, green appearance.

Leaving grass blades a bit longer allows them to shade the roots and provides more leaf surface for making food, so you can water, feed and mow less often. 

Leaving clippings on lawns provides the soil with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, the same nutrients found in commercial fertilizers. And if you have a mulching mower, you can mulch in leaves in the fall to add extra nutrients and save time raking.

Also, while many homeowners think they need to water lawns daily, turfgrasses actually prefer a thorough watering once or twice a week rather than a daily misting. Allowing the soil to dry between waterings encourages the grass to grow deeper roots and can improve a lawn’s drought tolerance.

And finally, overseeding a lawn in the fall before cold temperatures hit can help your lawn emerge from the winter thicker and healthier, improving the grass’s ability to absorb water, fight insects, diseases and outgrow weeds.

As grass seed growers, we obviously are biased in favor of lawns. But we also think the science and aesthetics speak for themselves when it comes to evaluating the benefits of home lawns.

Blue Line Farms, Inc.

Taylor Farms, Inc.

Victor Point Farms

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