News

Nominate A Veteran To Win A Lawn Makeover From Grass Seed USA | November 3, 2014

Nominate A Veteran To Win A Lawn Makeover From Grass Seed USA

View this article in a new window

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:

  • Visit Grass Seed USA on Facebook at http://bit.ly/1oaLzIz and like the page.
  • In 200 words or less, describe your nominee and why he or she deserves a lawn makeover from Grass Seed USA. Nominations will be accepted from Nov. 3 through Nov. 30.
  • After finalists are announced on Dec. 8, vote daily for your favorite submission until Dec. 19.

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.

 

###

http://weseedamerica.com/nominate-a-veteran-to-win-a-lawn-makeover-from-grass-seed-usa-2/

Take Steps Now To Ensure A Lush Green Lawn Next Spring | September 8, 2014

Take Steps Now To Ensure A Lush Green Lawn Next Spring

View this article in a new window

Take Steps Now To Ensure A Lush Green Lawn Next Spring

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:

  • Seeding a new lawn. Before you plant a new lawn, talk to your local garden shop or university extension agent to identify the type of grass that will best meet your needs, taking into consideration the location, level of use, sun exposure, drainage, and so on. For easy-to-follow tips on seeding a lawn, from ground preparation to caring for new grass, see www.weseedamerica.com/planting.
  • Adding seed to thicken an existing lawn. If your lawn is looking thin, or if you need to fill in some bare patches, now is the time to reseed. Talk to a turf specialist at a garden shop or university extension agent to find out what type of seed is best for your lawn conditions. Spread the seed over your existing lawn and then water lightly and regularly, making sure the reseeded areas stay moist until the new grass grows in. (Transition Zone homeowners with warm-season grasses also have the option of overseeding their lawns to keep them green through the winter.)
  • Dethatching. A certain amount of thatch – the tightly packed layer of organic matter between the grass blades and the soil surface – can benefit your lawn, but if the layer exceeds ½ inch, it can keep moisture and oxygen from reaching the soil and can harbor fungus and insect pests. If your lawn needs to be dethatched, you can rent a vertical mower or hire a professional to do the job for you.
  • Aerating. Older or heavily trafficked lawns can suffer from soil compaction. A core aerator with hollow tines will pull small plugs of soil out of the ground, allowing increased movement of water, nutrients and oxygen into the soil. You can rent an aerator or hire a professional to aerate your lawn for you.
  • Raising your mower blades. Let your grass grow a bit taller in the fall, usually between 1½ and 2½ inches. If you cut it too short, you’ll severely limit its ability to make and store food for growth in the spring. If the grass is too long it can become matted, which leads to problems as well.
  • Winterizing your irrigation system. If you live in an area where the frost level extends below the depth of your irrigation pipes, be sure to shut off the water to the irrigation system and drain all the pipes before the first freeze.

 

http://weseedamerica.com/take-steps-now-to-ensure-a-lush-green-lawn-next-spring/

U.S. Academics Weigh In On Key Advantages Of Natural Lawns | August 20, 2014

U.S. Academics Weigh In On Key Advantages Of Natural Lawns

View this article in a new window

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.

 

###

http://weseedamerica.com/u-s-academics-weigh-in-on-key-advantages-of-natural-lawns/

TOP 5 Ways Natural Lawns Improve A Community | July 29, 2014

TOP 5 Ways Natural Lawns Improve A Community

View this article in a new window

TOP 5 Ways Natural Lawns Improve A Community

Grass offers social, environmental and economic benefits

SALEM, Ore. – July 29, 2014 – When most people think about the benefits of natural turf lawns, they think about their value as an attractive setting for outdoor recreation and entertainment for individual homeowners or families. While the value to homeowners is significant, lawns also offer social, environmental and economic benefits to the entire community.

The turfgrass experts at Grass Seed USA have identified the top five ways in which natural grass lawns improve a community:

  1. Lawns bring communities together. Homeowners with lawns spend more time in their yards and interact more with their neighbors. From soccer games for the kids on the block to barbecues for the adults, a lush green lawn provides the perfect location for casual community gatherings.
  1. Well-maintained grass reduces crime and discourages littering. In 2009, teams from the Michigan State University turfgrass science program began planting and maintaining grass around abandoned homes and in vacant lots and parks in Flint, Michigan. After three years of the program, residents were asked, among other things, whether they felt safer in the neighborhood (47% strongly agreed, 21% agreed, 16% neutral, 5% disagreed, 11% strongly disagreed), whether they trusted their neighbors more (39% strongly agreed, 22% agreed, 33% neutral, 6% disagreed) and whether there was less trash in the neighborhood (63% strongly agreed, 37% agreed).
  1. Turfgrass increases fire safety. For communities adjacent to woodland or brush areas, green grass cover can serve as a firebreak. Studies have shown that due to its low fuel value, turfgrass retards the spread of wildfires. Lawns can also serve as defensible spaces from which firefighters can work to protect homes.
  1. Grass provides natural runoff, flood and erosion control. Turfgrass effectively absorbs rainfall, decreasing storm flow and flooding. As well as protecting homes from flooding, the excellent water retention contributes to groundwater recharge, keeps pollutants from reaching waterways and reduces the need for man-made water-control structures in urban areas. Grass cover is also an extremely efficient method of stabilizing soil and preventing erosion caused by wind and water.
  1. Lawns raise neighborhood home values. A well-maintained lawn can increase a home’s value by up to 15 percent – providing a boost to the entire neighborhood. Potential buyers find lawns appealing because they are aesthetically pleasing, enjoyable to use and environmentally friendly. According to a Gallup survey, attractive landscaping can provide a 100–200 percent return on investment – much higher than the return provided by many other home improvement projects.

A lush green lawn has long been part of the American dream, and although the accompanying white picket fence may have slid down the priority list, homeowners still appreciate the value of natural grass. That value extends beyond the property boundary, bringing positive impacts to the larger community.

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.

###

http://weseedamerica.com/top-5-ways-natural-lawns-imrpove-a-community/

Getting Kids Outdoors and Involved in Yard Maintenance | June 17, 2014

Getting Kids Outdoors and Involved in Yard Maintenance

View this article in a new window

Garden chores offer opportunities for teaching, bonding and fun

SALEM, Ore. – June 17, 2014 – Summer is here, and for many families that means time for outdoor recreation, entertainment and relaxation. Whether it’s a lush green lawn or a backyard full of flowers, outdoor living spaces provide an ideal setting for family fun or get-togethers with friends. But these outdoor areas do require maintenance to keep them functional and looking their best.

This summer, make the yard work more enjoyable and rewarding by getting the kids involved. Anything is more fun if you do it together, and even young children can start making the connection between the beautiful space they play in and the effort required to keep it looking nice year-round.

The experts at Grass Seed USA suggest that children can help with a wide range of tasks:

  • Planting. Most children love to play in the dirt and will be happy to help with planting. With child-size shovels, even preschoolers can dig holes. Older children can be given a corner of a garden or flower bed to tend, to create a sense of ownership and responsibility.
  • Watering. Small children can help water plants using a child-size watering can, while older kids can move the sprinklers on the lawn. Be sure to teach smart watering habits, such as watering in the morning or evening to reduce loss to evaporation, and watering deeply but less frequently to promote root development.
  • Weeding. Children who are old enough to tell the difference between wanted and unwanted plants can help with weeding. Turn this chore into a game by competing to see who can get the biggest pile of weeds, or who can finish the designated plot first.
  • Raking. Children can help remove leaves from flower beds and clear debris (and toys!) from the lawn before mowing.
  • Mowing and trimming. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be at least 12 years old before operating a push mower and 16 years old before operating a riding mower. Kids, like adults, should always wear sturdy closed-toe shoes and protective eyewear while mowing. Other power tools, such as edgers, hedge trimmers and weed whackers, may require an even higher level of maturity and coordination, and should be used only under adult supervision.

If you’re afraid that your children will resist the idea of helping out in the yard, or quickly lose interest, follow these tips for keeping kids motivated:

  • Keep tasks manageable to prevent discouragement. Don’t expect a child to weed a large flower bed all alone, for example. Either tackle the project as a family or divide the job into small pieces if you’re working on something else nearby.
  • Break up the chores with other fun activities, such as running through the sprinklers if it’s a hot day or having a little picnic at snack time.
  • Make the most of teaching opportunities. As you work with plants in your garden and watch them grow, explain about photosynthesis, the roles of leaves and roots, plant life cycles, and so on.
  • Enjoy your lawn! Whether it’s a game of soccer or catch, a watermelon-seed spitting contest, or an overnight campout in the backyard, reward your children’s hard work by having fun together after the chores are finished.

Getting your children involved in yard chores will make the work go faster, teach responsibility and give everyone some quality outdoor family time.

http://weseedamerica.com/getting-kids-outdoors-and-involved-in-yard-maintenance/

Natural Lawns Enhance Home Values; High Return on Investment | May 28, 2014

Natural Lawns Enhance Home Values; High Return on Investment

View this article in a new window

SALEM, Ore. – May 28, 2014 – As the home buying and selling season kicks into high gear, many homeowners are considering various home improvement projects and wondering which upgrades will provide the greatest return on investment when it comes time to sell.

According to a Gallup poll, 62 percent of U.S. homeowners see lawns and landscaping as a good investment. Attractive landscaping can provide a 100–200 percent return on investment – much higher than the return provided by many other home improvement projects. For example, a homeowner can generally expect to recover just 40–70 percent of the cost of building a deck or patio. A well-maintained lawn is recognized by potential buyers as such a desirable feature that it can increase a home’s value by as much as 15 percent.

“Lawns are appealing to buyers not only because they are aesthetically pleasing but because they extend the living area of a home, provide an ideal setting for outdoor recreation, entertainment and relaxation,” said Bryan Ostlund, executive director of Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers. “Through the use of sod, grass can also be a quick to establish, natural and self-repairing landscape option perfect for increasing curb appeal when selling a home, or establishing a lawn at a new residence.”

For homeowners who want to ensure that their lawns deliver full aesthetic, recreational and economic value, Grass Seed USA experts offer the following tips for growing a healthy, attractive lawn.

Watering

  • Avoid overwatering. Water thoroughly once or twice a week rather than providing frequent light mistings, which prevent the grass from developing a strong root system.
  • Water during the cooler hours of the day to minimize water loss to evaporation.

Mowing

  • Mow in the early morning or evening, and only when the grass is dry, to reduce stress on the turf and keep your mower blades sharp to prevent tearing.
  • Cut off no more than one-third of the grass blade height at a time.

Fertilization

  • Don’t bag your grass clippings. Clippings left on the lawn will break down and provide nutrients to the soil, reducing fertilizer requirements.
  • Fertilize at least once a year. The type and timing will be determined by the grass variety and the climate, so talk to a turf expert at your local garden center for advice.

Weed control

  • The best defense against weeds is a thick lawn. Lawn grasses will easily outcompete weeds when the conditions favor the grass.
  • Talk to a turf expert. Weeds are often an indication of a soil problem (nutrient deficiencies or excesses, soil compaction, poor drainage, etc.) that is making the ground more hospitable to weeds than to your grass.
http://weseedamerica.com/517/

10 Reasons to Love Your Lawn | May 7, 2014

10 Reasons to Love Your Lawn

View this article in a new window

As summer approaches and your thoughts turn to home improvement and the outdoors, you’re probably considering a variety of ways to make your home more comfortable, more attractive and more environmentally sustainable - while hopefully increasing its value as well. One feature that can achieve all these goals is a healthy lawn.
Perhaps surprisingly, installing and maintaining a natural turf lawn is one of the best home improvement investments a homeowner can make. If you’re weighing your options and wondering whether a lawn is worth the effort, consider the following 10 benefits.

1. Outdoor recreation: An inviting, low-maintenance outdoor space can provide a significant boost to your quality of life. From picnics and games to lounging in the shade with a drink and a good book, a lawn offers the perfect setting for outdoor entertainment and relaxation.

2. Increased home value: Grass makes a home more appealing. A well-maintained lawn is recognized as such a desirable feature to potential homebuyers that it can boost a home’s value by as much as 15 percent, according to a Gallup survey.

3. Excellent return on investment: When it comes time to sell your home, good landscaping can give you a much higher return on your investment than many other home improvement projects. According to a Gallup survey, you can generally expect to recover 40 to 70 percent of the cost of building a deck or patio, while landscaping can offer a 100 to 200 percent return.

4. Stress relief: Grass areas are naturally calming and stress relieving, and the visual appeal contributes to improved mental health and better quality of life. The healing power of nature can work its magic even in your own backyard.

5. Urban benefits: In cities, grass absorbs noise and provides a beneficial link with nature. Studies have shown that well-maintained lawns also promote greater community pride and deter littering and vandalism.

6. Cooling: On hot days, grass is much cooler than cement, asphalt and dirt, which trap heat. And grass doesn’t just stay cool to the touch – it cools the atmosphere as well. Each blade acts as an evaporative cooler, and by transpiring water to cool itself, grass also cools the environment, reducing the energy requirements for air-conditioning in buildings surrounded by lawns. According to the academic professionals with Grass Seed USA, the front lawns of eight average-size homes have the same cooling effect as the air-conditioning systems of about 20 homes.

7. Conversion of carbon dioxide to oxygen: Trees may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but all plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. According to the academic professionals with Grass Seed USA, a lawn of just 50 square feet releases enough oxygen to meet the needs of a family of four.*

8. Natural weed control: If you want a relatively low-maintenance landscaping option for an area of bare ground, try grass. A healthy lawn discourages the growth of weeds, and grass will easily outcompete other plants when you create the conditions that favor it.

9. Erosion prevention: Grass is one of the most efficient and inexpensive ways to prevent erosion caused by wind and water. A thick lawn absorbs rainfall, virtually eliminating any runoff, and the extensive root systems of the individual grass plants bind the soil more effectively than many other ground covers.

10. Self-repair: A lawn is naturally self-repairing. If you choose the right grass for your climate conditions and lawn use patterns, it will be highly resilient and regenerate quickly in response to stresses such as drought, frost or foot traffic.

‘There are many reasons to love your lawn,’ says Bryan Ostlund, executive director of Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers and turf specialists. ‘Whether you want a safe place for the kids to play or a welcoming outdoor space for a barbecue, grass fits the bill. It’s a remarkably easy and budget-friendly way to add aesthetic, recreational and economic value to your home.’ 

http://weseedamerica.com/10-reasons-to-love-your-lawn/

Spring Maintenance Storm Repair for a Spring-Ready Lawn | April 10, 2014

Spring Maintenance Storm Repair for a Spring-Ready Lawn

View this article in a new window

SPRING MAINTENANCE AND STORM REPAIR FOR A SUMMER-READY LAWN

  • Step 1: Rake – Rake your lawn to remove dead grass, old leaves and any other debris that accumulated over the winter. Raking enables you to see any bare or worn areas that need attention, and it also increases soil contact when seeding and allows new young grass to grow more easily.
  • Step 2: Aerate – Lawns that are heavily trafficked or buried under large piles of snow for a significant amount of time can suffer from soil compaction. You can hire a professional to aerate your lawn for you, or you can rent a core aerator, whose hollow tines will pull small plugs of soil out of the ground, allowing increased movement of water, nutrients and oxygen into the soil. Aeration can also increase the soil contact with seeds and promote new growth.
  • Step 3: Seed – Spring is the ideal time to reseed thin or bare patches in existing lawns or to establish new lawn spaces. Seeding now to repair winter-damaged areas will allow the grass to grow in healthy and strong before summer, when the lawn will likely experience the heaviest use. Talk to a turf specialist at a garden store or your local university extension office to help you select the right seed for your area. The specialist will be able to identify a seed that is similar to your existing lawn, or suggest an alternative choice if you’ve experienced recurring problems. After you plant the new seed, water lightly but regularly to make sure the reseeded areas stay damp until the new grass grows in. For more detailed information on planting, see www.weseedamerica.com/planting.
  • Step 4: Control weeds – If your lawn has been overrun with crabgrass or dandelions in the past, you may want to consider applying a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring before the weeds emerge. A healthy, lush lawn will squeeze out weeds, but a damaged lawn may need some help. Talk to a local garden specialist about which herbicide is right for your lawn and the best way to apply it. Herbicides can kill grass seeds, so if you’ve applied seed you’ll want to make sure you use a product that will not affect the new growth.
  • Step 5: Tune up your lawn mower – Get ready for the first mow by giving your lawn mower an annual service that includes changing the oil, changing the spark plug, swapping out or cleaning the air filter, and sharpening the blade. Most lawns are ready to be mowed when the grass reaches a height of 3 inches, although newly seeded areas or recently overseeded existing lawns should be mowed closer to 2 inches until the new grass is established. Remember to mow with a frequency that allows you to cut less than one-third the height of the grass. An easy-to-follow rule is to let it grow no taller than 3 inches and cut it to no shorter than 2 inches.

“For most of the country, this is a good time to address winter weather damage and storm repair,” said Bryan Ostlund, executive director of Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers. “Some basic repair and maintenance measures, such as reseeding bare areas, will help your lawn recover from the winter so it’s ready for you to enjoy when the weather warms up.”

 

http://weseedamerica.com/spring-maintenance-storm-repair-for-a-spring-ready-lawn/

Four Household Tools to Take Your Lawn From Good to Great | February 12, 2014

Four Household Tools to Take Your Lawn From Good to Great

View this article in a new window

Four Household Tools to Take Your Lawn From Good to Great

SALEM, Ore. – Feb. 12, 2014 – With spring just around the corner, many homeowners are looking forward to getting back out in their yards and enjoying their reawakening lawns. The turfgrass experts at Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers, offer DIY tips for spring and summer lawn care that will help you take your lawn from good to great using just four common household items.

“A healthy natural lawn provides a beautiful setting for relaxation and entertainment,” said Bryan Ostlund, executive director of Grass Seed USA, “and it can be achieved with minimal effort and expense. We’re all looking to save money in this uncertain economic climate, so as you gear up for a new season of lawn care, why not take advantage of things you already have on hand?”

Keep your lawn in tip-top shape with the following household basics:

    • Ruler: Mowing your grass to the right height will help you create a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant lawn. Wait until your grass is three inches tall before mowing, and then cut it to two inches in height. By only trimming one-third of the blade length, you will avoid stressing the grass while leaving enough leaf to protect the roots from the sun.
    • Screwdriver: It’s good for your pocket book and your lawn to avoid overwatering. By watering your lawn only when it needs it, your grass will develop longer roots capable of pulling moisture from deeper in the soil. To see if your lawn needs to be watered, test for moisture by pushing a screwdriver into the ground. If it’s difficult to push the screwdriver in, the soil is dry and your grass needs a drink. If the blade goes in easily, you don’t need to water yet.
    • Mason jars, vinegar and baking soda: Good soil is critical to a healthy lawn, and most turfgrasses prefer soil with a neutral pH (neither acidic nor alkaline). For a DIY pH test, pull out a pair of pint mason jars. Fill each jar about half way full with soil samples taken from several different locations around your yard. Be sure to remove rocks and other debris from your samples. Add a half-cup of vinegar to the first jar. If the mixture fizzes, your soil is highly alkaline and you don’t need to test the other jar. If you get no reaction, continue the test by adding a half-cup of water to the soil in the second jar. Mix well and then add a half-cup of baking soda to the slurry. If this mixture fizzes, the soil is very acidic. Overly acidic soil can be amended with lime, while alkaline soil can be amended with sulfur.
    • Dish soap: As your lawn starts its spring growth, watch for brown patches that never turn green. Dead patches could be caused by grubs feeding on the roots in the fall. To determine whether grubs are indeed the problem, carefully dig up square-foot sections of sod to a depth of about 2 inches, in several suspect areas in your yard (you don’t need to completely detach the sod, just fold it back like a trapdoor). Next, examine the soil beneath your grass for short, fat, whitish C-shaped worms. If your lawn has five or fewer grubs per square foot you don’t need to treat it. If it’s in the six to nine range you may want to treat it to avoid having birds and skunks dig up your grass to find the grubs. For 10 or more grubs per square foot you should treat the lawn, as this level of infestation can cause serious damage.

Treating grubs is easier than you may think. To treat 1,000 square feet of grass, dilute 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap in a gallon of water and spray it on the lawn. It’s best to do this immediately after a rainfall. This will cause the grubs to come to the surface, where you can collect them if the birds don’t do the job for you. Repeat the treatment weekly until the grubs stop surfacing.

http://weseedamerica.com/four-household-tools-to-take-your-lawn-from-good-to-great/

Grass Seed USA Announces 2013 ‘Operation Home Turf’ Home Lawn Makeover Winners | January 28, 2014

Grass Seed USA Announces 2013 ‘Operation Home Turf’ Home Lawn Makeover Winners

View this article in a new window

Grass Seed USA Announces 2013 ‘Operation Home Turf’ Home Lawn Makeover Winners

Three US Veterans Win $500 Yard Facelifts and Patriots and Paws, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Wounded Warriors Project Receive Donations

SALEM, Ore. – Jan. 28, 2014 - Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers, has named three U.S. veteran winners to receive home lawn makeovers through its second annual Operation Home Turf veteran appreciation program. Veterans Percy “George” Black of Altus, Okla., Noah Evans of Cushing, Okla., and Susan Goodin of Fountain Valley, Calif., were chosen by a public vote of servicemen and women nominated through Grass Seed USA’s Facebook page. Each will receive a spring lawn revitalization valued at $500.

“Operation Home Turf began as an opportunity to give thanks to veterans for their sacrifices and we’re thrilled to continue the program by honoring Mr. Black, Mr. Evans and Ms. Goodin,” said Bryan Ostlund, Grass Seed USA executive director. “A lush green lawn has long been a symbol of home and we hope that by providing our winners with complimentary lawn revitalization that they’re able to sit back, relax, and know that their service is appreciated.”

Additionally, Grass Seed USA will donate $250 to the veterans’ organization of each winners’ choosing. This year’s winners have selected Patriots and Paws, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Percy “George” Black Altus, Okla. – Black joined the U.S. Air Force in 1956, straight out of high school. Based at Atlus Air Base, he became an aircraft technician. While at Atlus, he met his wife and they were married in the base chapel. He was then transferred to Washington D.C. to be a maintenance technician, specifically working on the aircraft for the Air Force chief of staff. After 11 years in Washington, he was transferred to Hawaii to become a flight engineer maintaining aircrafts for the senior commanders of the pacific. After his discharge as a master sergeant in 1976, he moved back to Atlus with his wife and children to start his own upholster business, which he still runs today. In the last year, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, experienced the passing of his wife, and had multiple surgeries. With everything going on, Black has not been able to keep up with yard work or finish several yard projects. Black has selected the Veteran of Foreign Wars, Oklahoma chapter for his donation.

Noah Evans Cushing, Okla. – Evans enlisted in the Marines in 2003. After boot camp he joined the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Specialists School where he excelled and was chosen as one of the top three students to stay following graduation. He became part of a team to evaluate, learn and test a cutting edge vehicle to harness the proficiency to train Marines to use the equipment in the field. He was discharged in June 2007 at the rank of sergeant. Following his discharge, he went back to school at Oklahoma State University for a business degree in agriculture. At school he met his wife. After graduation, he became a truck driver for a welding supply company, started a family and purchased a home with a yard. In late fall, he found out his wife was pregnant with twins, which required bed rest and hospitalization. During the time of his wife’s pregnancy, not only was he the sole provider for the family but he had to be the sole caretaker. Given his responsibilities to his job, family and church, the yard was understandably neglected. Evans has selected the Wounded Warriors Project for his donation.

Susan Goodin Fountain Valley, Calif. – Goodin joined the Navy in June 1980. After boot camp in Orlando, Fla., she was stationed in Monterey, Calif., then transferred to the Navy Post Graduate School, specializing in personnel support. After four years of active duty, Goodin became a reservist, then moved to San Diego and Orange County as a petty officer second class in supply, dive and personnel support units. In 2003, she was recalled as a chief to active duty and spent two years in San Diego at the mobilization site for reservists being sent all over the world to support Operation Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle. After her retirement from the Navy Reserves in 2006, she experienced numerous health problems and no longer had the support of her now ex-husband. Goodin became homeless. After several years of extreme hardship, Goodin was told about U.S. Vets in Long Beach, Calif., a program for homeless and unemployed veterans. Once she was settled in, she was able to contact the US Department of Veterans Affairs for programs designed to assist her with finding a home and securing custody of her youngest son. Currently, she fosters dogs with a local rescue organization and volunteers at the veteran organization Patriots and Paws. Her home is in need of a yard for the beauty it will bring to Goodinn and the joy it will bring to her son and dogs. Goodin has selected Patriots and Paws for her donation.

http://weseedamerica.com/grass-seed-usa-announces-2013-operation-home-turf-home-lawn-makeover-winners/