January 1, 2011

A free monthly resource of lawn care tips and reminders to keep your lawn green!

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Wishing You a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

In this issue:

  1. The Broken Lawn Mower
  2. January Lawn Care Tips
  3. Bowl Games, AstroTurf and the Environment

Do you have a lawn care question? Get your lawn care questions answered. Ask anything related to lawn care and landscaping. Free and easy lawn care advice - we're happy to help!

The Broken Lawn Mower

When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed. But somehow I always had something else to take care of first: the truck, the car, e-mail, watching football, always something more important to me.

Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point. When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house.

I was gone only a few minutes. When I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. "When you finish cutting the grass," I said, "you might as well sweep the driveway."

The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp :)

January Lawn Care Tips

College Football Bowl Games, Astroturf and the Environment

The time of year every college football fan looks forward to - bowl season and the playoffs! As I write this, I'm watching Eastern Washington play Villinova on the "Inferno", a new red synthetic turf field. Even though I'm not a fan of synthetic sports fields, I'm starting to warm up to the Inferno. Ever seen a red field? Here's a link to some pictures of Eastern Washington's new field. That's what I call home field advantage...

Watching this game played on fake red grass - and being a college football google nerd - I want to know how many bowl games are played on synthetic turfgrass. My google search brings back interesting results...claims that synthetic turf is better for the environment than natural grass. According to the synthetic turf industry, "synthetic grass, empowers consumers to reduce their carbon footprint by completely eliminating the need to water lawns, use harmful fertilizers and pesticides, or operate gas powered lawn mowers that increase air pollution."

Hmmm...stop global warming - install artificial lawns?

Synthetic grass uses recycled tires that would end up in land fills, reduces the amounts of applied fertilizers, pesticides and water, provides all-weather playability and lower maintenance costs than natural grass. Synthetic turf fills a niche with these benefits.

Exploring SYNLawn's site, I discovered more good stuff...

Hotels in cities are using artificial grass in creative ways. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York created a beautiful yoga terrace on the 38th floor that maximizes its outdoor space. What a perfect use for synthetic turf - in places where it is impossible to grow natural grass - yoga terraces and rooftops with extreme turf makeovers.

Returning to my google search results, I found this interesting article - A New Turf War/Synthetic Turf in New York City Parks - about the NYC parks department replacing natural grass fields with synthetic turf. The author presents an interesting and objective debate with good arguments for using synthetic turf - while addressing important ecological and psychological benefits of natural grass.

Arguments for Synthetic Turfgrass

  • Decreases maintenance requirements
  • Provides all-weather play surfaces and holds up to heavy traffic
  • Lower long-term costs than natural turf
  • The "new generation" artificial turf is better than the old hard AstroTurf
  • Uses recycled rubber from old tires for "infill"

Arguments for Natural Grass

  • Has the ability to absorb and filter rainwater and pollutants
  • Decreases the impact of the urban heat island effect
  • Installation costs of synthetic turf are too high

And finally, toddvalleyfarms.com cites several good reasons to choose natural grass over artificial turf...

  • Artificial turf does not provide the cooling effect of a living lawn and becomes quite warm on a sunny day.
  • On hot days, natural grass does not have the distinct hot rubber odor that synthetic fields do.
  • The maintenance equipment required for artificial turf fields is often underestimated. Companies produce entire lines of maintenance equipment for upkeep of artificial fields and for bringing them back to a playable condition.
  • They will collect leaves and other wind-blown dirt and debris that must somehow be removed.
  • What is generally omitted is the fact artificial turf fields need pesticides and disinfectants to prevent or eliminate mold, bacteria and other hazards (like dog feces) that would otherwise be biodegraded by the natural environment of turfgrass fields.
  • Weeds will grow on these surfaces and must be sprayed or pulled.
  • An artificial turf field requires watering to cool the field to make it playable during warm days.
  • Athletes risk more serious injuries on synthetic fields than natural grass.

Yes, artificial turf fills a specialized niche, however it fails to provide the traditional landscape with the many environmental benefits of living grass.

A well maintained natural grass field requires water, fertilizer, pest management and mowing - but at significantly lower levels than often claimed by artificial turf sales people. While artificial turf has made improvements from the original AstroTurf, artificial surfaces lack most of the benefits provided by natural grass. A major benefit for me is aesthetics - natural grass just looks better and I prefer to watch games on natural grass.

In case you were wondering - 17 Bowl games are played on natural grass and 18 on synthetic turf...

Happy New Year! Keep your mower blades sharp:)

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Lawn Care Questions and Answers

Daniel Olsen ISA Cartified Arborist

Lewiston Lawn Care ECA Member