As a child I spent summer days laying on the grass or turf in the backyard, staring up at the blue sky with not a care in the world. My biggest concern would be if a half hour after lunch had yet passed so I could continue to swim “laps” in the blow-up pool.
I remember picking dandelions and blowing them to the four corners of the globe with glee, rolling races down hills of grass, and grass-stained knees and elbows – and the itch from it – all the memories of a time as a kid who grow up playing on grass.
The Fallacy of Turf:
As an adult and landscape professional, my knowledge of turf expanded significantly. In the past, Marathon sod dominated and fescue lawns prevailed. The allure of an immaculate green lawn was tempting, especially for those from lawn-centric regions like California.
During a recent trip to the East Coast, I explored historic mansions with vast lawns. Acres of green stretched before me, evoking images of owners enjoying croquet and picnics while children played nearby under a watchful nanny’s gaze.
Per usual, I was taking photos to keep my designing mind – and the business it shepards – remaining fresh and new. I thought to myself, this lawn, this huge expanse of seemingly perfect green perfection, this is what people are trying to attain! This is the goal! This is what people who want a lawn envision when they look out their living room window. My thoughts turned to the care of such a large swath of green.
I wanted to learn more. Getting closer to the turf, imperfections emerged. Uneven green swaths, bare spots, and water-logged areas appeared. Despite 60 gardeners tending to the property, the grass resembled the lawn of my childhood.
Weeds thrived, including spurge, clover, and dandelions, coexisting with unknown seeded grass. Crabgrass, zoysia, and nut grass infiltrated too. Together, they formed a visually pleasing carpet from afar. However, up close, it revealed a chaotic sight.