In this day and age there are apps for everything, from social networks to shopping and even bacon-themed alarm clocks. So it makes sense that there are some fantastic lawn care apps out there as well! Whether you like getting your green thumb on or have others take care of your yard, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite #TurfTech apps. Have a favorite app that didn’t make the list? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter!
Lawn Care Services Apps
Dick Allen, former Major League Baseball MVP
In 1972, Chicago White Sox first baseman Dick Allen won the American League’s Most Valuable Player award. To many, the honor could be considered the crowning achievement of his career. At We Seed America, we’d like to think the quote Dick offered in 1970 about his preference for playing on natural grass was just as valuable. Why? Because playing sports on natural grass turf provides a host of benefits for those participating in them. Read on to learn three ways playing sports on grass is good for athletes of all ages.
Dick Allen photo by Getty Images
Now that school’s out for the summer, it’s time to take advantage of all the sunny days by crafting fun activities that get everyone outside and staying active. So without further ado, here are 5 fun activities to enjoy your lawn this summer. Enjoy, and make sure to share photos of your activities with us on Facebook or Twitter!
1. Lawn Tic-Tac-Toe: Ruth at Living Well, Spending Less has all the info you need to get 3 X’s or O’s in a row to become the family Tic-Tac-Toe champ!
2. Lawn Scrabble: Constantly Lovestruck shows us how to test our brawn and brain with the innovative lawn scrabble. In case you were wondering, “GRASS” is worth 6 points in standard scoring. Lawns? 8.
3. Backyard Ker-Plunk: Great for the little ones, enjoying a backyard game of Ker-Plunk is bound to keep everyone entertained and laughing while enjoying a nice lemonade or beer in the backyard. Thanks, Amy at All Parenting!
4. Lawn Memory: Kelly at Studio DIY has everything you need to know to challenge your memory skills right on your own lawn! Difficulty can be adjusted for younger or older kids, or even adults!
5. Lawn Yahtzee: Try to get a royal flush or full house by making these wonderful wooden outdoor lawn dice from The Wood Connection! On top of a great time, you’ll have some great lawn art!
Has nicer weather inspired you to find ways to make your home more comfortable, attractive and environmentally sustainable while increasing its value?
One feature that can achieve all these goals: a healthy lawn…
Installing and maintaining a natural turf lawn is one of the best home improvement investments a homeowner can make, and it’s the perfect warm-weather DIY project. According to Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers and academics, the ideal lawn planting season is April through the mid-to-end of October, depending on where you live. Installing a beautiful lawn is simple with six easy steps:
Prepare: Preparation is the most critical part of seeding a lawn. The condition of the soil has to be ideal in order for grass seeds to germinate. To get these conditions, remove any remnants of the old lawn. Use a sod cutter allows you to slice off old grass and weeds at the roots. Then turn the soil with a rotary tiller, adding soil and compost in successive layers to achieve an ideal mix. Both sod cutters and tillers can be rented by the hour or by the day at any major home improvement retailer.
Achieve the right pH: No soil is ready for seeds if it doesn’t have the right pH. Obtain a soil test kit from your local home improvement store. To take a soil pH test, gather soil samples from several places around the area you’ll be seeding.
The pH scale measures acidity and alkalinity, from 0 to 14, with 7.0 being neutral. Grass grows best in soil that has a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. If your soil is too acidic (below 6.0, a common problem in cooler wet climates like the Northwest and Southeast), you can add lime to bring it up. If it’s mildly alkaline (7.5 to 8.0, typical of the Midwest), a little peat moss, which is naturally acidic, should correct it. Soil that is very alkaline (more than 8.0), which is more likely to exist in dry, hot climates, needs sulfur.
Fertilize: After your soil has achieved the perfect pH, use a broadcast spreader to apply starter fertilizer to the entire area. Make sure the spreader is adjusted to distribute at the rate outlined on the fertilizer packaging. Look for fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium at even ratios (such as 10N-10P-10K percentages).
Purchase the right grass seed: One key factor in choosing the right grass seed simply depends on where you live. For the northern region of the country, you will want a cool-season grass like fine and tall fescues or perennial ryegrass. This type of turf grows the most during the cool seasons of spring and fall, and therefore, should be seeded in the spring or fall months. These grasses are typically more shade-tolerant as well.
Warm-season grasses grow in warmer regions of the country. These include grasses like St. Augustine, Bermuda, buffalo, centipede and zoysia. Warm-season grasses achieve their peak growth when summer hits its stride and typically require full sun to thrive. Unlike cool-season turf, warm season turfgrasses should be seeded in the summer months.
Disperse grass seed: Using your broadcast spreader, disperse grass seed evenly over the soil. For larger lawns, use a walk-behind spreader. Be sure to apply an even amount of seed to the entire area. Then, take a plastic leaf rake, turn it upside down, and use the back of the tines to gently work the seeds into the soil. Make short, light strokes. Avoid long sweeping motions, which can redistribute the seeds and cause the grass to grow in uneven patches.
Water: Immediately after dispersing the seeds, lightly water the area with an oscillating-type sprinkler. Set up one or more sprinklers, or move the sprinkler to ensure that the entire area gets dampened. For the first eight to 10 days, water two or three times daily, but only for 5 to 10 minutes. Avoid overwatering, which may wash away the seeds.
Once the grass sprouts, water once a day for 15 to 30 minutes. It’s typically best to water in the morning, when there’s less evaporation and wind is minimal. Avoid watering in the evening; it can lead to fungal diseases. In the event of a summer rain storm, there is no need to water.
King 5, NBC affiliate out of Seattle, featured a great segment on our Great American Lawns winner, Bloedel Reserve. Check it out!
As we head into the finale of one of the nation’s biggest sporting events, we thought it would be fun to see which of America’s lawns reigns supreme. By absolutely no scientific method, we chose these four gorgeous green landscapes as our Final Four of Great American Lawns. Which is your favorite? Let us know!
White House Lawn: Republican, Democrat, Know-Nothing, or Whig… No matter what your politics, this is one lawn we’d like to roll around on!
Bloedel Reserve Lawn: Our “Cinderella” pick resides near Seattle, WA and gets bonus points for its beautiful rolling landscape.
The Lawn at University of Virginia: When your name is THE Lawn, you know you belong with the big boys.
Great Lawn at Central Park: Can you imagine a better place in the world to waste a sunny day, picnic, and people watch? We can’t!
UPDATE: Congrats to Bloedel Reserve, the inaugural winner of our Great American Lawns tournament. Cinderella came to play – scoring 380 total votes!
Three Veterans Win $500 Lawn Facelifts and Select Three Veteran Focused Non-Profits to Receive Donations
SALEM, Ore. – Jan. 26, 2015– Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers, has named three U.S. veterans as winners of its third annual Operation Home Turf veteran appreciation program. Frank Cherry and William Phinizy, both of Miami, Fla., and Deron Santiny of Lafayette, La., were chosen by a public vote. Servicemen and women were nominated to receive home lawn makeovers through Grass Seed USA’s Facebook page, and each of the winners will receive a spring lawn revitalization valued at $500.
“As Operation Home Turf continues into its third year, we’re thrilled to have another opportunity to honor and pay respect to deserving veterans like Frank, William and Deron,” said Bryan Ostlund, Grass Seed USA executive director. “The men and women of the U.S. armed forces give up their time to serve our country, and the least we can do is provide a lush green lawn that they can be proud of and enjoy with their friends and family.”
Additionally, Grass Seed USA will donate $1 for every new like or follow the coalition received during the 2014 Operation Home Turf campaign to a veterans’ organization of each winner’s choosing.
Frank Cherry – Miami, Fla. – Cherry enlisted in the military in 1980, beginning an impactful 27-year career with the Army. During his time serving, Cherry was stationed at bases across the country and was deployed four times. He was a member of one of the first Army units called to Ground Zero after 9/11. Shortly after, he was tasked to help secure the Canadian and U.S. border, where he monitored and assessed individuals entering the U.S. from Canada. In 2003, Cherry was deployed to Afghanistan, where he served on the frontline of defense for 13 months. After retiring from service in 2005 as a sergeant E-7, Cherry continued working with other veterans by starting Frontline Disciples Street Ministries, a program designed to help veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) find relief through Christian-based support groups. Since starting Frontline Disciples Street Ministries, Cherry has mentored more than 200 veterans. Cherry was nominated for Operation Home Turf by his wife Tina, who wanted to show her gratitude for the hard work and commitment her husband continues to uphold.
William Phinizy – Miami, Fla. – Phinizy enlisted in the National Guard in 1990, where he completed his Military Occupational Specialties training at Fort Sam Houston located near San Antonio, Texas. Phinizy then spent the next eight years serving as a medic for the North Carolina National Guard. At 39, Phinizy enlisted for active duty in the Army, continuing to train and serve as a combat medic at bases across Louisiana and Kentucky. Phinizy was eventually deployed to Afghanistan and spent 13 months as a frontline medic. While in Afghanistan, he completed hundreds of missions and recorded each mission in hope that he would write a memoir about his experience one day. Phinizy is a decorated veteran and has received several medals and awards for his service, including the Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Combat Medical Badge. After retiring from the Army in 2012 as a sergeant E-5, Phinizy returned home to work with other community volunteers to help restore dilapidated areas of his neighborhood.
Deron Santiny – Lafayette, La. – Santiny joined the Navy right after high school in 1988, though he also served with the National Guard and the Army during his time in the military. After serving a 13-month tour of duty in Iraq in 2004, he returned to the U.S. for the next five years of active duty in the Army. As a result of injuries sustained during his time of service, Santiny medically retired from the military in 2010 as a staff sergeant E-6. Santiny received several high honors throughout his extensive military career, including the Purple Heart, a Combat Infantry Badge, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and a Good Conduct Medal. Today, Santiny continues to work with veterans as the commander for the Lafayette chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and is an executive board member of the Veterans Action Association, where he works with lawmakers and military officials to help increase funding for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical clinics throughout southwestern Louisiana.
NOMINATE A VETERAN TO WIN A LAWN MAKEOVER FROM GRASS SEED USA
Grass Seed USA will also donate $1 to veterans’ affairs organizations for each new like on Facebook or follower on Twitter
SALEM, Ore. – Nov. 3, 2014 – The third annual Operation Home Turf is underway and looking for deserving men and women in uniform to receive a lawn makeover courtesy of Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers. The Operation Home Turf veteran appreciation program will award three U.S. veterans with a spring lawn revitalization valued at up to $500. During the campaign, Grass Seed USA will also donate $1 for each new like on its We Seed America Facebook page or new follower on Twitter (@weseedamerica), up to $1,000, to veterans’ affairs organizations.
“We are excited to launch the third annual Operation Home Turf campaign to thank service members, past and present, for their sacrifice and dedication to our country,” said Bryan Ostlund, Grass Seed USA executive director. “U.S. veterans go above and beyond for our nation and often spend long periods of time away from their families. The least we can do is provide them with a relaxing lawn to enjoy when they’re home.”
Nominate a Veteran:
The three veterans with the most votes will each receive a spring lawn makeover, which could involve reviving their existing lawn or seeding a new one. Winners will be announced by Jan. 5 on Grass Seed USA’s Facebook page.
Selected winners’ current or past service in the U.S. military will be subject to verification. Additionally, winners must own the property, or have written consent from the property owner to have work done, in order for lawn services to be provided.
About Grass Seed USA
Grass Seed USA is a national coalition of grass seed farmers and academic turf specialists with a wealth of experience in studying, growing and harvesting grass and grass seed. The coalition seeks to inform and educate residential and commercial customers about the benefits of grass and best practices for responsibly growing and maintaining healthy turf. For more information, visit www.weseedamerica.com or www.facebook.com/WeSeedAmerica, or follow on Twitter at twitter.com/WeSeedAmerica.
Grass Seed USA Provides Guidance on Preparing Lawns for Winter
SALEM, Ore. – Sept. 8, 2014 – As summer comes to a close, it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your lawn. In most of the country, thanks to cooler temperatures and increased precipitation, fall is the ideal season for seeding a new lawn or enhancing an existing one. Grass Seed USA, a national coalition of grass seed farmers and academic turf specialists, suggests several steps to take now for a lush green lawn next year.
“The more you do in the fall, the bigger the payoff in the spring and in years to come,” said Bryan Ostlund, Grass Seed USA executive director. “There are three main reasons to consider improving your lawn now. First, adding seed in the fall allows you to repair damage or thicken areas that have become sparse, so your lawn will be full and vibrant in the spring. Second, if you’re thinking about selling your home in the next year, planting a lawn or improving an existing one can boost curb appeal and increase your home’s value. Third, if you have warm-season grass that goes dormant when the temperatures drop, you can avoid winter browning by overseeding with cool-season grass, which will keep your lawn green year-round.”
The United States can be roughly divided into three grass-growing zones: Cool Zone, Transition Zone and Warm Zone (see graphic).
If you live in the Warm Zone, fall is a time to sit back and enjoy your lawn, as few winterization measures are needed and new warm-season lawns are best planted in the late spring or early summer. One option you may want to consider is overseeding – adding cool-season grass seed over your warm-season turf. The cool-season grass will thrive until the warm-season grass turns green again in the spring, giving you a lush lawn year-round.
Homeowners in the Cool Zone and Transition Zone should take similar steps to prepare their lawns for winter. In these areas, fall is a good time for the following activities:
U.S. Academics Weigh In On Key Advantages Of Natural Lawns
Survey of turf experts unearths little-known benefits, common misconceptions, developing trends
SALEM, Ore. – Aug. 20, 2014 – Grass Seed USA, a national coalition of grass seed farmers and academic turf specialists, found consensus among academic experts about the benefits of a natural lawn. In an annual qualitative survey of the nation’s leading authorities on natural turf, Grass Seed USA identified four consistent themes including how lawns enhance communities, its environmental benefits, common misconceptions on water and fertilizer usage, and the dawn of drought-tolerant grass.
Enhanced Sense of Community
First, experts like Thom Nikolai of Michigan State University agree that, “maintained lawns provide a sense of community, belonging and pride, and therefore, enhance self-respect.” He cites a study performed in Flint, Mich., in which residents were found to interact more with their neighbors and felt safer when the lawns of abandoned homes and lots in the neighborhood were mowed weekly.
Environmental Benefits Abound
Turf experts are in agreement that a natural lawn is good for the environment: it’s one of the most efficient and inexpensive ways to control erosion, and it aids in fighting pollution. “Dense, well-established turf will prevent wind erosion of soil as well as solid erosion when it does rain,” says Brad Parker of Rutgers University. The extensive root system of a thick lawn effectively absorbs rainfall and virtually eliminates any runoff.
John Stier at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville has found that consumers assume that lawns contribute to pollution. “In fact,” he says, “multiple studies show that lawns can actually reduce urban runoff and soil and water pollution, as well as help to capture compounds that would otherwise contribute to global warming.” A lawn of just 50 square feet effectively captures carbon dioxide and releases enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four.
Ease Back on Care
As Clint Mattox of Oregon State University notes, “lawns are often unjustly thought to need a great deal of water and pesticides just to survive.” Most survey participants indicated that consumers tend to use more water, fertilizer and other treatments than are required. Overwatering is one of the biggest downfalls, and lawns need a thorough watering just once or twice a week. Depending on their variety and the climate, lawns may need fertilization only once a year, but it’s important to confirm a schedule with a turf expert at a local garden store.
The Future of Grass
Finally, as new varieties of grass are developed, drought-tolerant varieties are among the most highly anticipated in the industry. Mattox explains that, “The breeding of new varieties of salt-tolerant and drought-tolerant grasses will allow consumer lawn owners to benefit from the advantages of a home lawn while actively participating in fresh-water conservation.”
About Grass Seed USA
Grass Seed USA is a national coalition of grass seed farmers and academic turf specialists with a wealth of experience in studying, growing and harvesting grass and grass seed. The coalition seeks to inform and educate residential and commercial customers about the benefits of grass and best practices for responsibly growing and maintaining healthy turf. For more information, visit www.weseedamerica.com, or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.