As far as humanity goes, we live in a whopper of a different world than our ancestors did. Want something to eat? Chances are pretty darned good that it's only a few steps away in the refrigerator or cabinet. Cabinets empty? Go to the store, or a diner. Refrigerator empty? Same advice. It's pretty simple really. Nowadays, we can pretty much have whatever we want as long as we can pay for it.
Biology and Agronomy can be brutally frustrating to those of us who have grown accustomed to immediate gratification. Not only do we expect, nay demand immediate gratification, we have come to expect that somebody dropped the ball when we don't get it. For example, you pay $12,000 for a new roof on your home, then it leaks during the first storm. Do you shrug your shoulders and say "eh, such is life..."? I doubt it. If you're normal, you want to know whose head deserves to be on a stake in the town square as a warning to any other contractors who might dare not perform a perfect job.
This phenomenon is particularly interesting to me, as I've seen it in its most extreme form many, many times. A homeowner invites a lawn care service in to bid on the fertilizing and treatment services. The contractor proposes a series of applications. The homeowner agrees only to a severely stripped down version of what was recommended, eliminating all but one or two applications. The lawn suffers. Homeowner blames contractor for any imperfections he can find.
Growing grass is much like growing people. You are human, so you need proper nutrition and exercise. Not ONLY that, but you need to avoid sitting in 120 degree desert heat naked for days on end. You need to avoid spending more than a few minutes underwater at any given time. You need to avoid diving headfirst into an empty pool. You need to avoid stepping in front of a car. There are many, many unconscious steps you take every single day to preserve your health and well being. Your lawn can't take those steps.
For whatever reason, once upon a time a few microscopic organisms headed off down an evolutionary pathway that had their descendants staying put while drawing sustenance from the immediate vicinity. We call their descendants "plants." This immobility means that the grass can only deal with the situation it is put into. While you can put clothes on and escape 120 degree heat, your lawn can't. While you can avoid tragic, physical trauma, your lawn can't. While you can go get a glass of water when thirsty, your lawn can't. Your lawn cannot do a lot of things. It certainly cannot survive in conditions that it is not naturally suited for.
Growing grass is not a natural thing. It needs help. It needs water. It needs good mowing practices. It needs thatch control. It needs good topsoil. It needs adequate sunlight. It needs some shade from excessive sunlight. It needs lots and lots of things that aren't addressed by a fertilizer program from a local company, or a fertilizer system that you apply yourself. If your lawn looks beat up and browned out as a result of a brutally hot summer, think about things before pointing the finger at the fertilizer guys and demanding their head be put on display in the town square.
You can't always get what you want
By Christopher Brown | September 2nd 2010 07:06 AM | Print | E-mail