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2016 Fall Lawn Maintenance and Winterization Report | October 3, 2016

2016 Fall Lawn Maintenance and Winterization Report

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Yellow, orange and red autumn leaves in beautiful fall park.

Recently, Grass Seed USA had the opportunity to speak with 6 academic turf specialists on what steps to take for your lawn once fall arrives. The experts unanimously urge lawn owners to waste no time in preparing their lawns for winter, and ultimately, for the following spring. To learn more about what they had to say and ensure your lawn survives winter, click the link below.

View The 2016 Report

http://weseedamerica.com/2016-fall-lawn-maintenance-winterization-report/

The Environmental Benefits of Having a Lawn | August 1, 2016

The Environmental Benefits of Having a Lawn

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Beautiful view on cute backyard in sunny day, fresh green grass

Want to know why natural turf is tops? Having a manicured lawn has been proven to increase home value and happiness across the country, but what about its environmental benefits? Read on, as we have put together 5 reasons to go green with a natural turf lawn!

  1. Grass is visually and environmentally important for our communities.

Green lawns are both beautiful and functional. Grass areas are naturally calming and stress relieving, and the visual appeal contributes to improved mental health and greater community pride. In urban areas, grass is particularly important for absorbing noise, providing a healthy link with nature and deterring littering.

  1. 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.

  1. It naturally recycles

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.

  1. Grass can reduce your carbon footprint.

We frequently hear about the value of planting trees to capture carbon and produce oxygen, but grass also provides the same benefits. When you responsibly manage your lawn. your grass absorbs and stores away carbon, therefore reducing your carbon footprint. 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.

  1. Grass has a natural cooling effect.

On hot days, grass is much cooler than cement, asphalt and dirt, which trap heat. A Mississippi State University study showed that when the temperature of a sidewalk is 100°F, the temperature of the lawn next to it will remain near 75°F.

 

http://weseedamerica.com/the-environmental-benefits-of-having-a-lawn/

5 Water Use Tips for Summer Lawncare | June 17, 2016

5 Water Use Tips for Summer Lawncare

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Little Girl Playing With Garden Water Sprinkler

With summer in full swing, it’s time to think about how to maintain a beautiful, healthy lawn while being mindful of water use. “When it gets hot, the most common mistake people make is to excessively water their lawn. However, your lawn only needs to be watered once or twice a week during the summer months,” said Bryan Ostlund, Grass Seed USA executive director. “When done correctly, cutting back on irrigation can actually strengthen your lawn.”

Follow these five lawn care tips and enjoy a bed of soft, green grass all summer long:

  1. Don’t Overwater!

With some communities sending out watering guidelines for summer water conservation, it’s important to keep some very basic guidelines in mind when watering, such as watering once every other day or twice a week. Fewer, longer waterings encourage the roots to grow deeper making the lawn stronger and more drought-resistant. Over watering can lead to lawn damage due to over-saturation.

  1. Inch by Inch

The absence of rainfall in the latter half of summer means that you will need to apply about 1 to 2 inches of water per week in order to maintain a healthy yard.

  1. Be Cool

Always water your turf during the cooler hours of the day, either early morning or evening. Watering during the heat of the day does very little good as much of the water evaporates before reaching the roots.

  1. High Times

Set your mower to cut less grass. You can reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation by keeping your grass slightly taller (2 to 3 inches) in the summer, so that the blades shade the roots and soil surface, keeping it cooler and protected.

  1. Wake up and Smell the Routine!

Whatever watering routine you choose, stick with it. Grass does best with a consistent watering schedule, and starting and stopping a watering pattern can stunt your turf’s growth.

http://weseedamerica.com/5-water-use-tips-for-summer-lawncare/

Last-Minute DIYs for Backyard Hosting | June 1, 2016

Last-Minute DIYs for Backyard Hosting

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Decor Romantic dinner with candlesflowers in green forest during wonderful sunset. Honeymoon proposal or wedding background concept.

Summer means outdoor entertaining. Whether you’re hosting a wedding reception, a family reunion or a birthday party, you’ll want to make the backyard get-together memorable. Here are some quick DIY ideas to help you get ready for a fun, stress-free gathering.

Lawn prep

A healthy green lawn is an inviting setting for outdoor activities. If your lawn isn’t quite up to snuff, a little last-minute maintenance can help. Following are some tips from Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers and academics:

  • Fix bare or thin spots. You may not need as much time as you think to overseed thin or bare patches, as some seed germinates in just a few days. Ask the turf specialists at your garden store or university extension office for help in selecting the right seed. Seed during the early morning or evening hours and then water lightly but regularly, keeping the reseeded areas damp until the new grass grows in.
  • Don’t overwater. On average, a lawn needs about an inch of water per week, from rainfall or irrigation. Unless it’s very hot or you have good soil drainage, don’t water for two or three days before your party. A soggy lawn might ruin your guests’ shoes, and furniture legs could sink into the ground.
  • Leave a little length. Don’t mow the grass too short before the event, a little extra length will provide more cushioning for the soil and your guests’ feet. As a general rule, wait until your grass is 3 inches tall before mowing and then cut it to 2 inches in height. Trimming no more than one-third of the blade length reduces stress on the grass and leaves enough leaf to protect the roots from the sun.

Creating the ambiance

Beyond the table arrangements (linens, tableware, flowers) you’ll want to think about creating a comfortable ambiance for your guests. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Throw some shade. Set up umbrellas or a shade sail if your gathering is in the heat of the day and you don’t have much natural shade.
  • If your get-together is in the evening, create a welcoming atmosphere by setting out candles or lanterns and winding twinkle lights around trees in your backyard. If you have the space, build a simple fire pit where you can gather after dinner to make s’mores and tell stories. Transform planters and pots into night-lights using glow-in-the-dark paint.
  • Make it cozy. In addition to traditional seating, set out blankets, pillows and rugs on the lawn. Set up a low table and place rugs on the grass next to it to create a magical Moroccan evening.
  • Keep bugs at bay. Annoying flies or hungry mosquitoes can take a lot of the fun out of an outdoor party. Light citronella candles to deter mosquitoes, or make natural DIY bug spray for your guests using essential oils such as peppermint or eucalyptus.

Choosing activities

Your get-together likely already has some built-in activities (eating, for one!), but depending on the type of event, you may want to have a few additional distractions planned, especially if there are kids at the party. Try a few of these:

  • Revive old favorites. Classic lawn games like croquet or lawn bowling are easy to set up and are great icebreakers if not everyone knows each other. You can mix things up and create your own variations on the rules.
  • Spray-paint your grass. Use ground-marking spray to create giant game boards directly on your lawn. Twister, checkers, tic-tac-toe. Use your imagination!
  • Set up a miniature golf course with plastic cups as targets, and make challenging obstacles using whatever random objects you have on hand.

One of the great advantages of entertaining outdoors is that it’s usually easier and less stressful than trying to fit a large group into your home. So keep things simple and don’t worry if you don’t have time for elaborate preparations, your backyard will naturally do most of the decorating and ambiance creation for you, and you’ll have plenty of options for outdoor activities for kids of all ages.

http://weseedamerica.com/last-minute-diys-backyard-hosting/

Major League Lawn Care: An Inside Look at Maintaining Championship Caliber Turf | April 19, 2016

Major League Lawn Care: An Inside Look at Maintaining Championship Caliber Turf

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Citizen's Bank Park

Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies

Spring and Baseball in America

One of the most uniquely American springtime events is the return of the national pastime, baseball. Each spring, big league clubs trek to Florida or Arizona for Spring Training, youngsters register for little league and fans optimistically await the start of a new season, knowing that their team, for at least Opening Day, is in first place.

The image of a vibrant, green baseball field is a welcome reminder that the weather is improving and summer is just around the corner – but this iconic image does not manifest itself without effort. Across the country, well before seasons shift and temperatures rise, city park landscapers, schoolyard staff and major league grounds crews alike prep the green fields we know and love. Recently, We Seed America spoke with Jeff Wright, head groundskeeper for the National League’s Philadelphia Phillies, to learn what goes into creating and maintaining the iconic symbol that is the baseball diamond.

Becoming a Major League Groundskeeper

Jeff Wright is no stranger to baseball fields, having been with the Phillies organization since 1986. Back then, he worked part time as a “day of game” groundskeeper with ambitions to one day join the team as a graphic design artist. As time passed, Wright’s prowess maintaining the field and love for working outdoors helped him become something more of a grounds keeping artist, and he has worked full time on the Phillies’ grounds crew since 1990.

Beyond the basics of keeping the grass green and making sure the infield dirt is just right, there is a lot Jeff and his team must do to ensure the field it in tip top condition for game day. For example, certain varieties of grass may make the baseball roll too slow or too fast, and special decorations may be in order for postseason or World Series play. Maintaining a Major League playing field is a year long endeavor, and the challenge of keeping the field at Citizens Bank Park “the best there is in baseball” is something Jeff’s team strives for.

Major League Lawn Care

Getting a field into form for Opening Day begins with winterization steps taken just after the previous season ends, and does not look dissimilar from what is often recommended for homeowners’ lawns. According to Jeff, field winterization “might be somewhat a challenge in Philadelphia with the colder climate, but we overseed in the fall, put down our fertilizers and hope for the best.” Jeff noted there had been a few instances where particularly harsh conditions necessitated the use of winter blankets, but usually overseeding does the trick.

After winter comes Spring Training. Efforts to ready the Phillies’ facility in Clearwater, Florida begin in earnest in January and last throughout February. The impressive baseball complex includes 4 fields and over 20 pitching mounds, and requires a true group effort to maintain Major League standards.

Once the regular baseball season begins, ongoing maintenance becomes important, and this goes far beyond ensuring the grass is vibrantly green. Performance optimization is a chief concern, and feedback on the turf comes from players and coaches alike. Previously, Riviera Bermudagrass was used at Citizens Bank Park, but after hearing from players that this variety made the surface too quick, the grounds crew switched over to Kentucky bluegrass, which can be grown at a higher height than Bermudagrass and helps the game be played a little slower. Facing these sorts of challenges is something Jeff enjoys, and he is always looking for ways the turf can be optimized for performance.

Winning It All

Maintaining a major league-caliber playing surface is key to sustaining a high level of baseball prowess, which is why Jeff selected the Phillies’ 2008 World Series championship as his favorite moment as an MLB groundskeeper. According to Jeff, when the final out was made to clinch the victory, the scene on the field was “total euphoria” as players, coaches and the grounds crew all celebrated the accomplishment as one. After all, winning a championship in professional sports takes dedication at all levels, which is why Jeff and his crew were rewarded with their very own World Series championship rings, a fitting reward for countless hours of hard work and dedication.

http://weseedamerica.com/major-league-lawncare-maintaining-championship-caliber-turf/

April is National Lawn Care Month: 7 simple steps for summer lawn prep | April 5, 2016

April is National Lawn Care Month: 7 simple steps for summer lawn prep

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Outdoors Barbeque

If you’re a part of the nearly 90 percent of Americans who believe it’s important to have a well-maintained yard, you and your backyard will appreciate these seven simple steps for tending to your natural turf lawn with minimal effort.

According to Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers and academics, investing a little repair time in early spring and a small amount of maintenance time in summer will pay off with a lush lawn ready for all your summer activities.

1. Test your soil. Good soil is one of the essentials of a healthy lawn. A soil test is simple, inexpensive and provides valuable information about current pH levels. Simple amendments like lime or sulfur can be added to neutralize overly acidic or alkaline soil and help grass thrive. Find a soil test kit at a local garden store or make your own using common household items.

2. Aerate. 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. Aeration can also increase the soil contact with new seeds and promote new growth. You can rent an aerator or hire a professional to do the work for you.

3. Seed. According to Grass Seed USA, the ideal lawn planting season is April through the mid-to-end of October, depending on where you live. Turf specialists at a garden store or local university extension office can help select the right seed for your area and usage, pointing you toward the seed closest to existing grass or suggesting alternatives for problem areas. After seeding, water lightly but regularly, keeping the reseeded areas damp until the new grass grows in.

4. Control weeds. Healthy lawns essentially control weeds by squeezing them out. However, if crabgrass or dandelions invade, herbicides may help. Consult a garden specialist about which herbicide is right for your lawn and how to use it. Applying a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring before weed grass emerges can reduce problems down the line. If you’ve applied seed, keep in mind herbicides can kill it, so use a product that will not affect new growth. For dandelions, digging them up is often effective, but a broadleaf herbicide may be applied.

5. Water as needed. On average, a lawn needs about 1 inch of water per week, from rainfall or irrigation. Letting the lawn dry out completely between waterings will encourage the grass to grow stronger, deeper roots as it searches for water deeper in the soil. Put a rain gauge on your porch to measure rainfall; skip the watering and save your irrigation money if you receive 1 inch of rain in a week.

6. Fertilize naturally. Don’t break your back trying to bag lawn clippings. If you mow frequently (about once a week during the growing season) and don’t remove too much height (only one-third of the blade), you can leave the grass clippings on the lawn. They contain the same nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as commercial fertilizer – and they’re free.

7. Mow to the right height. Wait until your grass is 3 inches tall before mowing and then cut it to 2 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 — helping you create a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant lawn.

A lawn doesn’t need constant pampering. Summer lawn prep can be quick and easy, and the reward is a beautiful, environmentally-friendly setting for outdoor activities of many kinds. So, fire up the grill, hang up the hammock and get busy enjoying your personal great, grassy outdoors

http://weseedamerica.com/april-is-national-lawn-care-month-7-simple-steps-for-summer-lawn-prep/

The Unsung Heroes of the College Football Playoff National Championship | January 11, 2016

The Unsung Heroes of the College Football Playoff National Championship

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Each year, as summer turns to fall and students make their way back to the dorms, members of elite teams train for endless hours on grass fields to achieve ultimate success. Today, on the date of the College Football Playoff National Championship, months of hard work culminates in a dazzling display of determination, grit and skill.

Oh, you thought we were talking about football? While gridiron warriors deserve their due respect, We Seed America aims to highlight some of the unsung heroes of college football: the marching bands. Read on to learn more about the national title-contending musical units of the University of Alabama and Clemson University.

Can’t get enough of the marching bands? Follow the Million Dollar Band or Tiger Band on Twitter, and make sure to vote in the We Seed America Twitter poll to name your favorite band of the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship.

Million Dollar Band University of Alabama

University of Alabama Million Dollar Band

Formed in 1912, the “Million Dollar Band” of Tuscaloosa is quite used to the big stage. The University of Alabama has won an NCAA record 10 national championships, giving the band multiple opportunities to shine when it matters most. When the band is not playing the school’s fight song Yea Alabama, they are often performing epic half time shows on the natural grass of Bryant-Denny Stadium, which seats over 100,000 spectators. Check out a recent performance in the video below, as the Million Dollar Band filled up AT&T Stadium with dynamic sounds in front of a national audience.

Clemson Tiger band

Clemson University Tiger Band

Formerly a military university, Clemson opened up its doors to the public in 1955, and at that time formally introduced the Tiger Band. While Clemson is behind Alabama in terms of college football championships, the Tiger Band has nonetheless proven to be as formidable a unit as the Million Dollar Band. Between the spirited renditions of the school’s fight song, Tiger Rag, and some of the most unique formations of any band out there, the Tiger Band is ready to display its prowess on the big stage of the College Football Playoff National Championship. Watch below as the 2013 Tiger Band delivered its fabled “Video Game Show.”

http://weseedamerica.com/the-unsung-heroes-of-the-college-football-playoff-national-championship-marching-bands/

Nominate A Veteran To Win A Snapper Lawn Mower From Grass Seed USA | November 9, 2015

Nominate A Veteran To Win A Snapper Lawn Mower From Grass Seed USA

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Caption image_offerpop app_2015_reduced size

Grass Seed USA to donate $1 to veterans’ affairs organizations for each new like on Facebook or follower on Twitter during November

SALEM, Ore. – Nov. 3, 2015 – The fourth annual Operation Home Turf veteran appreciation program is underway and looking for deserving men and women in uniform, past and present, to receive a new Snapper lawn mower courtesy of Grass Seed USA, a coalition of American grass seed farmers. 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) to veterans’ affairs organizations, up to $1,000.

“Through the Operation Home Turf campaign, we are pleased to again show our appreciation for veterans’ sacrifice and dedication, in our own unique way,” said Bryan Ostlund, Grass Seed USA executive director. “U.S. service members often spend long periods of time away from home in service of our nation, so when they are home, we want to help them create a relaxing space they can enjoy and share.”

Nominate a Veteran:

  • Visit Grass Seed USA on Facebook at http://bit.ly/1KU5Iat and like the page.
  • In a few words, describe your nominee and why he or she deserves recognition. Nominations will be accepted from Nov. 3 through Nov. 30.
  • Winners will be randomly selected, then announced the week of December 7 on Grass Seed USA’s Facebook page.

Grass Seed USA will select and ship a new, Snapper SP Series Self-Propelled Lawn Mower to each of the three winning veterans. In the event that a Snapper SP Series Self-Propelled Lawn Mower is not available, Grass Seed USA will select a similar mower to fulfill the award.

Selected winners’ current or past service in the U.S. military will be subject to verification.

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

MLB’s Top Turfs: Which 2015 Playoff Contender Has the Best Grass? | October 5, 2015

MLB’s Top Turfs: Which 2015 Playoff Contender Has the Best Grass?

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After a grueling 162 game season, the 2015 Major League Baseball playoffs are finally here, which means it’s time we rank the contenders on the criteria that really matter.

  • Wins Above Replacement (WAR)
  • Run Differential 
  • Top Pitching Staff
  • Win-Loss Record
  • Best Turf Design and Field Experience 

That’s right. Forget advanced metrics and runs batted in, the real battle this postseason will be waged by MLB grounds crews as they bring out the best green grass has to offer. Without further ado, here is We Seed America’s definitive and totally subjective ranking of 2015 MLB playoff teams’ turf. Want to add your opinion? Vote on who you think has the best field in all of baseball!

rogers centre

10. Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays might be the best team in baseball, having hit more home runs than anyone in the sport. One thing they haven’t hit out of the park, however, is the Rogers Centre playing field, as they are the only playoff team with an artificial playing surface. But don’t worry, Blue Jays fans: the migration to natural grass turf is underway.

Ballpark_in_Arlington_May_2009

9. Texas Rangers: The Rangers are an unlikely postseason team, having benefited from mid-season trades that solidified their roster. One thing that’s always been solid for Texas is beautiful Globe Life Park, which features lovely greens accented by intricate patterns across the turf.

Dodger_Stadium

8. Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers feature Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, an all-time pitching duo that helped the team capture the 2015 National League West title. Meanwhile, Dodgers Stadium remains as classic as ever, and the grounds crew does a nice job maintaining the local greens with solid checkerboard patterns.

Yankee_Stadium_upper_deck_2010

7. New York Yankees: The venerable Yankees have enjoyed a positive comeback season, led by a group of wily veterans. On the grass, Yankees Stadium is as venerable as ever. The most iconic home field in all of sports features solid turf work and historic Monument Park in center field.

Citi_Field,_June_2_2012

6. New York Mets: The Mets are led by what is arguably the best pitching staff in baseball, including 23 year old phenom Noah “Thor” Syndergaard. Thus, it makes sense the grounds crew in Queens does a landscaping job worthy of a hammer-wielding god. The Mets receive bonus points for the unique “Home Run Apple” at Citi Field.

Kauffman_Stadium

5. Kansas City Royals: The Royals won America’s hearts last season as they captured the American League pennant and came *this close* to taking the 2014 World Series. Kansas City continues to play in style at Kauffman Stadium this year, where outfield waterfalls complement the grounds crew’s great work on the diamond.

Champs_central_du_Wrigley_Field

4. Chicago Cubs: Chicago’s exciting, young Cubs hope to reverse the team’s infamous title curse this year while playing on the always beautiful Wrigley Stadium field. Dating back more than a century, Wrigley Field, its turf and the ivy outfield wall are recognized by baseball enthusiasts across the globe.

PNC_Park,_Home_of_Pittsburgh_Pirates

hedge

3. Pittsburgh Pirates: Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen may have removed his magnificent dreadlocks, but the Pirates aren’t likely to remove the near-perfect turf at PNC Park anytime soon. This grass field is accented by the gorgeous Pittsburgh skyline and the unique “Pirates” outfield hedge. C’est magnifique!

Minute_Maid_Park

tals hill

2. Houston Astros: As the Astros prepare to face the Yankees in the American League Wild Card game, we are not-so-secretly rooting for a victory by the young team, primarily so we can get a closer look at the unique dimensions of Minute Maid Park, which features the only grass hill in all of the bigs.

busch

carpenter

1. St. Louis Cardinals: Despite a slew of injuries, the Cards managed to finish the season with MLB’s best record. But what really sets them apart in this competition is the magnificent homage to local Gateway Arch in center field of Busch Stadium. To say it’s a masterpiece would be an understatement.

Vote now to tell us who YOU think should be ranked #1!

http://weseedamerica.com/major-league-baseball-top-turfs-fields-ranking-the-2015-playoff-contenders/

Bill Nye Explains Environmental Benefits of Grass | September 24, 2015

Bill Nye Explains Environmental Benefits of Grass

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Blast from the past!

We stumbled across this grass-tastic Bill Nye the Science Guy segment from 1993. During this episode, themed “Plants,” he covered a car with a layer of grass to communicate the benefits turf grass has on the environment and ecosystems. Check out the clip here:

If you’re interested to learn more about the environmental benefits of grass, read our recent blog post about the 5 top reasons to love your lawn.

http://weseedamerica.com/bill-nye-and-the-benefits-of-grass/