Fairy Ring Facts



Why Grow Grass ?


Why Grow Grass?
by John Merrill
You may have asked yourself this question at one time or another. It's like
a curious child's question that goes something like: Daddy, why is the sky
blue? Daddy, what is the wind? or Daddy, why do Democrats hate Republicans?
Uh...

We grow grass for one reason: we can mow it. Grass is one of the few plants
that can survive a good mowing, it even thrives on being mown. Ah, a
contradiction of sorts. Any other plant, even most other grasses would die
from being cut by a third every week. There are over 10,000 species of
grass, yet only about 50 of those grasses are suitable for use in a lawn.
These are what are called turf grasses.

Why can a turf grass be regularly mown without dying and still maintain a
healthy and attractive appearance? Unlike most plants, turf grasses grow
from the base of the plant, down there just above the soil level at place
called the crown. The growing zone is well below the sharpened rotating lawn
mower blade. Other plants grow at the tips and don't respond well to being
repeatedly cut.

The process of mowing actually reduces the plants total leaf surface and
this in turn reduces its ability to use photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is
the process that takes carbon dioxide from the air (the stuff we exhale when
we breathe) and turns it into carbohydrates that the plant uses for food.
The food is the used to create more plant cells that go into either the leaf
or the root system. When the plant looses some of this ability use
photosynthesis, it overcompensates by producing additional leaves or by
sending out additional roots that in some turf grasses, will send up a new
grass plant. The result: an even thicker, denser lawn.

So, the answer to the question "why grow grass?" is: because it's the one
plant that adapts best for the environment we've created for ourselves. Now
about those Democrats and Republicans...

John Merrill is editor of Landscape-America.com and American-Lawns.com





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