Yes, it is true. Folks have already been seeing some green grass as the landscape turns from winter brown to the prettiest green imaginable.
How remarkable are these millions of tiny green plants that provide tons of oxygen for us to breathe and food for us to eat, while sucking up the dreaded carbon dioxide! Of course, we don’t eat the grass directly, but cattle and sheep certainly do and they are able to convert about 10 pounds of grass into one pound of meat.
Unlike many food crops that must be harvested and replanted to be consumed, grass is very happy to have its top growth cut off (or chewed off) on a regular basis. Most broad-leaved plants have their growing points near the top of the plant. Repeated cutting of the growing point will kill most broad-leafed plants pretty quickly. Grasses have their growing point located at the base of the blade. Cutting the top of the blade off just makes them grow new leaves quickly.
This feature allows new residents from the suburbs or the city to convert weedy, old farm pastures into multi-acre lawns by simply mowing them on a regular basis. I do not quite understand why people want 3-acre lawns, but they are easy enough to create with a riding mower and plenty of weekends to mow.
Other critters also seem to enjoy eating the new grass. Canada geese feed on grass, as do rabbits, woodchucks and many other mammals, including cats. My late cat loved to eat fresh, green grass and then vomit on my bed. As unpleasant as that was, it was better than stepping on headless mice she also deposited on my bed or somewhere I would step on the body as I got up.
I am still working on eliminating as much of my lawn as possible by allowing ground covers (mostly local weeds) to take over after spraying the grass with a chemical called “Grass B Gone,” which selectively kills grass but not broad-leaved plants. I keep hearing about how invasive the shade-tolerant ground cover myrtle is, but it does not spread for me, no matter how I try to get it to invade grassy areas.
Our fondness for greener pastures may stem from a time when open meadows allowed for early warning of impending danger from saber toothed tigers or enemy soldiers. Village greens evolved into meeting places where commerce developed and politics was discussed. This was before the internet replaced being outside.
Somebody in Scotland got the bright idea one day to invent a sport that involved hitting a small round ball into holes placed in grassy areas. The late comedian Robin Williams discussed this invention in hilarious detail. You can easily listen to his routine on You Tube.
Golf has become a multi-billion dollar industry in this country, with many golf course budgets well over $1 million annually. The typical private club generates between 19,000 and 20,000 rounds of golf per year, per 18 holes. The typical club generates approximately 60 golf rounds per membership and spends between $1 and $1.2 million on maintenance each year. Greene County residents and visitors are fortunate to have at least six public golf courses to enjoy.
Probably the best thing you can do for your lawn right now is to stay off it until it dries out. Cool, wet soils are easily compacted by foot traffic, so resist the urge to get everything all cleaned up for a few more weekends. I would not be surprised if we got a snowstorm this month or even in April.
Many spring blooming bulbs are up and some are already beginning to flower. The local deer are very hungry right now and they will devour just about every type of bulb foliage except daffodils and crown imperial (Frittilaria). Daylilies are a preferred deer food, as are tulips, and your woody shrubs are still in danger, too. There are several effective deer repellents on the market such as Hinder, Invisible Fence and Deer Away. Home remedies to repel deer include human hair in mesh bags, bars of perfumed soap, and rotten egg mixtures dissolved in water.
Other wildlife are also becoming active again. Skunks, possums, foxes and even a few woodchucks are looking for places to make dens. Make sure these animals cannot get under your house, barn or other outbuildings by sealing off all possible entry points. You really don’t want a skunk as a resident, or even as a house guest!
Reach Bob Beyfuss at email@example.com.