Monday, January 30, 2006

Standing Water

Getting Rid of Standing Water in Your Yard by Michael McGroarty


Do you have one or more areas in your yard that hold water after a rainfall? This is a common problem, and sometimes difficult to solve. Over the years I've talked with dozens of people trying to battle this problem, and on several occasions I have been hired to solve the problem. So what can be done? Too often people come to me asking what kind of a tree, or what kind of shrubs can be planted in a wet area to dry it up. This is the wrong approach. Most plants, and I mean almost all plants are not going to survive in an area where the soil is soggy for extended periods of time. The roots need to breathe, and planting a tree or shrub in a water area will kill it. Another common approach is to try and fill the area with topsoil. Depending on a variety of variables, this can work, but many times adding additional soil to a wet area will only shift the water to another area just a few feet away. If you are lucky enough to have some natural fall to your property, or a drainage ditch nearby, this problem is easy enough to solve. If you happen to live in an area that was developed over the past few years, there might even be a system to remove storm water nearby. In many new home developments I've seen stormwater catch basins already installed in backyards. Trust me, this is a good thing. There is nothing worse than having a soggy yard all the time. If you are fortunate to have some fall to your yard, or a stormwater system that you can drain water into, this problem is easy to solve. Make sure you check with your local officials before you do anything at all with a storm drain.

All you have to do is go to your local building supply center and buy some 4" perforated plastic drain pipe. The best kind for this purpose is the flexible kind that comes in 100' rolls. This type of drain pipe has small slits all around the pipe. These slits allow water to enter the pipe so it can be carried away. Just dig a trench from the center of the low area you are trying to drain, to the point that you intend to drain it to. Using a simple line level you can set up a string over top of the trench to make sure that your pipe runs downhill all the way. A line level is a very small level that is designed to attach to a string. Any hardware stores sells them for just a couple of dollars. Set the string up so it is level, then measure from the string to the bottom of your trench to make sure you have constant fall. You should have 6" fall for every 100'of pipe. The highest point is going to be the area that you are trying to drain, so you only want your pipe deep enough at this point so it can be covered with soil. Once the trench is dug just lay the pipe in. At the highest end of the pipe you'll need to insert a strainer into the end of the pipe to keep soil from entering the pipe. Cover the pipe with some washed stone, and then backfill the trench with soil. The washed stone creates a void around the pipe so that the water can find its way into the pipe.

Washed stone is usually inexpensive stone that has been washed so it is clean and free of mud. The only part of the pipe that needs to be exposed is the low end, where the water exits the pipe. Do not put a strainer in that end. If you do not have anywhere that you can drain the water to, you still might be able to do something. But first consider what is happening, and why the water is standing where it is. Even if you have well drained soil, water cannot soak in fast enough during periods of heavy rain, and it runs across the top of the ground and eventually finds the lowest point, and either leaves the property, or gets trapped. If you have well drained soil, the trapped water usually soaks in. If you have heavy clay soil, the water lays there, and the soil underneath becomes very compacted, and the problem compounds itself. The more water that stands, the worse the drainage gets.

What I have done in areas like this, where there is standing water, but nowhere to drain it to, is to install a French drain system that actually carries the water away from the low area, and allows it to seep into the ground over a larger distance, where the soil is not quite so compacted. To install this French drain system you do everything exactly as explained above, except instead of draining the water to a lower area, you can send it in any direction you like. Even in the direction from which it came, which is uphill. When installing this type of system, it's a good idea to dig a number of shorter trenches, all heading away from the area where the water stands. Using the line level, make sure your trenches fall away from their point of origin so once the water enters the pipes it will flow away from the wet spot. What is going to happen is that during times of heavy rain the low area is still going to trap water, but much of that water is going to seep into the drain pipes and eventually leach into the soil under each trench. Because this soil has not been compacted by the standing water and the baking sun, it will accept the water. It won't happen nearly as fast as if you could just drain the water to a ditch, but at least you will have a mechanism in place that will eventually disperse the water back into the soil. It's a lot easier to leach 200 gallons of water into a series of trenches that total 100 lineal feet, than it is to expect that water to leach into a 10' by 10' area that is hard and compact.


About the Author
Mike McGroarty, the author of this article, would like to give you this Ebook: "The Gardener's Secret Handbook". Stop by his http://www.freeplants.com website and get your copy right now. It's his way of saying hello! Article provided by http://gardening-articles.com

For more lawn care information visit www.fairyring.ca

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Soil Types

Characteristics of Different Types of Soil by Alex Fir


The most important factor when beginning to cultivate your garden is to know your soils texture. Take a handful of moist soil and roll it between your palms until it forms a sausage shape. If it feels gritty and breaks apart immediately, the soil is predominately sand. If the soil feels smooth, and holds its shape for a short time before breaking apart, it is mostly silt. However, if it feels sticky and holds together, then it is clay.

Sandy Soil Easy to cultivate and warm up quickly in spring. It drains well so the plants do not stand with their roots in water for too long. However, as it drains quickly, plants need to be regularly watered and fed if they are to thrive.

Silty Soil This soil type is richer in nutrients than sandy soil. It is also heavier because it can retain moisture and has a tendency to become compacted. It does however tend to drain well and much easier to cultivate than clay. Clay Soil Weighty to lift and difficult to work. Drainage is usually bad; the soil is acid and clinging to the feet in wet weather. When preparing the beds for vegetables in clay soil, the organic fertilizer should be added at a rate of two bucketfuls to the sq. yd.

Loamy Soil Contain sand, silt and clay, in such well-balanced proportions that none produces a dominating influence. These are amongst the most fertile soils. Almost any crop can be grown in them. They warm up quickly in spring and rarely dry out in summer. Chalk Soil It fertility depends largely on the depth of soil overlaying the chalk bed formation. If the topsoil is thin the ground will be poor and hungry. It will be bone dry in summer and the plants will need far more watering and feeding than on any other soil. If however, it is fairly deep, good growing conditions are possible.

Peaty Soil It occurs in fen or boggy areas. Peat is composed of excessive quantities of humus and is associated with water-logging. The soil is usually very acid and contains few nutrients. It does have one advantage in that it warms up quickly in spring. It is excellent for plant growth if fertilizer is added.

Visit Gardening Information website and learn gardening tips. You will also discover which gardening tools match the tasks in your garden.


About the Author
Visit Gardening Information website and learn gardening tips. You will also discover which gardening tools match the tasks in your garden.

For more information on fairy ring and lawn care visit www.fairyring.ca

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Lawn Care Tips

Tips For Lawn Care by James Hunt


Proper lawn care includes such things as mowing, watering, fertilizing and the removal of weeds. The amount of care that you give to your lawn will depend on the lawn itself. It will depend on the type of grass, the weather and the type of soil that you have.

It is always a good idea to mow your lawn as often as possible. Mowing maintains a uniform height for all the plants. It also helps control the growth of the weeds by cutting off their seed-bearing stems. There are various types of mowers that can be used to create the perfect looking lawn; the one that you choose is completely up to you. No matter what kind of lawn mower that you use you should always take the time to sharpen the blades of your mower. Sharpening the blades will ensure that your grass is being cut, rather than just being broken off or pulled out.

Lawn care is not a simple task and it does require some time and effort. Mowing the lawn itself can be a tedious task. For example, new grass should not be mowed until it has grown to a height of two inches. After the first cutting however, it should be kept at a height of one and a half inches to two inches. Depending on the type of grass and the conditions in which it is growing, you could end up mowing your lawn quite frequently.

Lawn care also includes watering. The amount of water and the frequency of watering can and will vary considerably between lawns. Enough water should be applied to wet the soil and to a depth of four to six inches. It is very important that you soak the ground thoroughly. This is needed because light watering will encourage the roots to grow near the surface. This will result in the grass dieing in dry weather and the roots will be unable to reach the water deep down in the soil.

Fertilizing is also a major component in lawn care. This is important in maintaining a dense and healthy lawn. Most lawns need these major elements: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. All of these things can be found in lawn fertilizers. It is best to apply fertilizer twice during the year, in the early spring and then again in the late fall. In the early spring, fertilizer should be applied before the grass has started to grown ad while the soil is full of moisture. This helps the grass produce stronger and more extensive roots. Fall fertilizing, after the late season rains, help the grass recover from the summer hear and drought.


About the Author
James Hunt has spent 15 years as a professional writer and researcher covering stories that cover a whole spectrum of interest. Read more at www.lawn-care-guide.info

For more information on Lawn Care visit www.fairyring.ca

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Lawn Care Tips And Proper Lawn Maintenance by Evan Wooldridge


How much does the average person know about proper lawn maintenance? It may surprise you that the average person is fairly ignorant when it comes to properly caring for their lawn. Sure they can spray for weeds, and use big name lawn equipment, but what do they really know? Proper maintenance of one's lawn is much more than this. It enthralls taking what one already knows and tweaking it with new technique and knowledge. Once this type of mind set is reached only then can your lawn start to separate from the average run of the mill lawn. Watering your lawn is very easy and therefore common knowledge, but seeding and proper weeding may not be as readily known. Study everything you can find about lawn maintenance and become a student of this necessary past time.

When you take it to the next lawn care level as far as reading tips and tricks then you are ready to start applying them to your own lawn. It does no good to learn many wonderful and exciting tricks dealing with your grass if you are not going to take the first step. Start off slow in order to not burn yourself out then gradually build. In other words, you may not want to go out and purchase a bunch of expensive lawn equipment right off the bat. If you decide that you do not have an interest in lawn care then you will be stuck trying to sell name brand equipment at a discounted rate. Also, you may not wnat to over think things when it comes to your lawn. Too many times I have seen people get so far into the science behind lawn care to where lawn maintenance becomes more of a chore then past time.

Lastly and most importantly, have fun with what you learn. Do not be so regimented that you loose sight of your goal. This goal is of course having a beautiful yard full of life. This will give you the satisfaction of creating something from scratch and making it wonderful. Tips such as these can be found at www.lawn-care-guru.com along with many other insightful bits of information. Have fun and enjoy your new outlook on lawn care.


About the Author
I am Evan Wooldridge Author and Creator of Lawn Care Guru at http://www.lawn-care-guru.com and I am excited to bring quality lawn care tips and maintenance to the internet for free.

for more information on lawn care visit www.fairyring.ca

Monday, January 16, 2006

Lawn Aeration

Landscape Techniques - Lawn Aeration by Henry Thompson


Landscape Techniques - Lawn Aeration Article by Henry Thompson Copyright © 2003 by ProGardenBiz ProGardenBiz, an online magazine http://www.progardenbiz.com

Aerate, in the context of landscape and grounds maintenance, means "to supply the soil with air". It is a contractor technique to aid in maintaining and improving lawns. Aeration improves the lawn appearance, usability, and it's ability to absorb water from irrigation. Aeration is important for the garden as well as the lawn, but the techniques for garden aeration are different than for lawns, and the subject for another column.

An aerator is the equipment that performs the work and it's a machine every gardener and landscape maintenance contractor should own. If you perform lawn maintenance or renovate lawns you need an aerator. Aeration is a standard component of any grounds maintenance program. For seasonal work you can rent the equipment. If you have a larger customer base you should consider adding an aerator to your contractor equipment. Landscape companies will generally find it more profitable to own the equipment instead of renting.

First let's discuss the need for aeration and the benefits of a regular aeration program in landscape maintenance.

Grass roots need air as well as water and fertilizer. The grass can actually poison itself as a result of the various chemical processes that occur in the individual grass plants if the grass roots do not have enough air. Soil that lacks sufficient air can result in; slow growth in the affected grass, excess irrigation runoff due to poor permeability, shallow root systems, and a lawn that's highly susceptible to insects, disease, and heat damage.

Soil compaction is the most common example of soil deficient in air. The growth habits of grass in compacted soil are shallow root development, a substantial decrease in the number of grass plants per square foot, and an inability to properly use applied fertilizers.

Soil compaction in lawns is caused primarily by pedestrian traffic, whether it is children playing in a playground or people taking shortcuts across a lawn. Stopping the use of the affected lawns is generally impractical. A better solution would be frequent aeration and, depending upon the composition of the soil, the application of lawn and garden amendments such as peat, sand, or gypsum.

The benefits of aeration are an increase in the:

- growth rate of the grass thus an improvement in its ability to withstand and recover from pedestrian use - ability of water and fertilizer to penetrate to the grass roots soil's absorption rate from irrigation - root growth activity contributing to the strength and health of the grass - ability of bacteria present in the soil to break down and decompose the thatch layer thus increasing the soils ability to hold sufficient amounts of moisture between waterings - grass's ability to withstand low water situations and heat stress

Aeration is a technique best applied in late summer or early fall for cool season grasses and in the spring for warm season grasses. This can also be a good time to overseed and topdress/ amend the aerated lawn. One drawback to aeration is that it increases the probability of weed infestation thus it can become important to include pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control measures. In addition to being beneficial to the lawn, these services are an add-on profit center for the landscape maintenance contractor. Aeration services are also often offered by garden centers and nursery businesses.

If you have a severely damaged lawn or a lawn area that undergoes heavy and frequent use you might consider aerating these areas several times throughout the year. Remember, aeration does damage the grass, so aerate "lightly" by using a slightly wider tine spacing or only one pass.

An aerator that pulls plugs is more effective than one that simply pokes holes. An aerator that pokes holes can further compact the soil. Soil compaction decrease the available air to the grass roots and causes excess irrigation run off. Either remove the plugs or break them up (use a mulching lawn mower or close the catcher chute on a standard mower). Always apply any amendment immediately to achieve maximum penetration of the amendments into the soil. The holes have a tendency to collapse especially if pedestrian traffic is difficult to keep off.

Contractor equipment varies from dedicated aerators that pull plugs to rototiller add-ons that simply poke holes. As discussed, pulling plugs is better. You will also find the dedicated aerator to be easier and more efficient to use.

Aeration is also a way for many landscape maintenance contractors, gardeners, and garden centers to make more money. Most offer the service to their customers as an additional service. Pricing and costs will vary. Some charge by the square foot, others by the job. The average price in Southern California is about $45.00 per 1,000 square feet for owner occupied single family residences. Other large landscape maintenance contractors offer aeration as part of the contracted service, especially for large residential communities where the single billing cost for aeration could be prohibitive. They calculate the cost of aerating and divide the result by the term of the contract (usually one year, 12 months) thus charging the customer a portion (1/12th) of the total cost each month. This makes the service affordable to the homeowner association or property management company and brings in more money to the contractor. The same technique could also be used by smaller lawn maintenance and gardening companies.

Aeration should be part of your grounds maintenance and irrigation service. Its an inexpensive way to improve your customers lawns and make more money. It also makes it easier to get those yearly increases in fees and keep customers longer. Happy customers pay much better than dissatisfied customers. Aerating really can make a big difference in the appearance of your customer's lawns! Competition in the Green Industry is strong and added services like aeration will help to put you out in front of your competitors.

__________________________________________

About the Author:

Henry Thompson is a Contributing Writer for ProGardenBiz Magazine, an online magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors. Visit ProGardenBiz to find out how you can get a free subscription, start-up guidance, business ideas and inspiration at http://www.progardenbiz.com.

For more information on lawn care and lawn related topics visit www.fairyring.ca__________________________________________

Friday, January 13, 2006

Watering Houseplants

How to Water Your Houseplants Wisely
By: Kori Puckett



Over watering ranks first in causes of houseplant demise because it causes roots to rot. Most plants are tough so they can recover from under watering with only the loss of a few leaves -- unless you wait too long and pass the point of no return.

Watering schedules depend on the kind of houseplant, its size, container, and environment. No two plants have the same water requirements, so you'll need to know what your particular plant(s) require.

Generally, it's best to water during morning hours. Most flowering plants require more water than their non-flowering counterparts. Since the needs of individual plants vary greatly, you should research your houseplant's requirements.

Test dryness of soil by probing the top inch with your finger. Tapping the side of the post also indicates the degree of wetness. If the tap sounds hollow, the plant needs water. If it sounds solid, wait a day or two to water. If a plant begins to wilt and its soil looks dry and cracked, it needs water immediately.

For plants that require moderate watering, allow 1/2 to 1-inch of soil to dry out before re-watering. If a plant needs light watering, let two-thirds of the soil dry out. For plants that need heavy watering, the surface should always be moist.

You can water in several ways. A quick and easy method is to water from the surface with a watering can. Use a long-spout water can and water at room temperature. When water escapes through the bottom of a pot, the houseplant has had enough.

Pots also may be placed in a tray of water for about half an hour. This allows the soil to draw water in from drainage holes. Some plants, such as ferns, especially like this watering method.

During each watering, use enough water to completely soak the soil in the pot rather than simply wetting the surface. (Keep in mind when watering that hairy plants, such as African Violets, can be damaged if their leaves get wet).

Tap water is fine for plants, but it's a good idea to let the water stand in an open container overnight to allow it to come to room temperature and allow chlorine to evaporate. If your tap water has a high fluoride content, it is wise to use water from another source -- spring, well, rain water, distilled water, or water that has collected in a dehumidifier. You also can add perlite or limestone to your plant's soil to neutralize fluorides.

More steps to easily care for your house plants can be found at http://www.koripuckett.com/house-plant-care.

About The Author...
This article is published by Kori Puckett of www.koripuckett.com.

For more information on plant care visit www.fairyring.ca

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Tips for Saving Water for Your Landscaping by Sandra Dinkins-Wilson


Do you find your water bill going up each month you water your landscaping along with the rest of your bills? You might even question just how much water your landscaping really needs. Perhaps it's time for you to think about how to make your watering more efficient so you have beautiful landscaping but save water as well.

To water our landscaping, we use either some type of automated sprinkler system or a sprinkler that is dragged from spot to spot. Right from the big corporations right down to the homeowner with just a speck of a lawn, most people use or want to use some type of automated watering system. You have probably seen water from automated sprinkler systems running off the grass and running down the street. I don't know about you, but here in the arid West, when I see this, it makes me quite angry. This even can be seen in droughts where a typical homeowner may have to water his plants with saved waste water from inside his home. This is not exactly an efficient use of water. All around the country there are problems with having clean water. It just doesn't make sense to waste water.

Yet most landscaping owners use an inefficient and wasteful watering system. Here are a few tips to make watering your landscaping more efficient and less wasteful.

Watering systems for your landscaping vary. Find one that is most efficient for your needs. A good rule of thumb is that the larger the water drop delivered and the closer to the ground the better it is. Using a system that delivers a fine spray up into the air will lose much of the water to evaporation and to wind.

Surprisingly, hand held hose watering was found to be the most water-efficient way to provide moisture to your landscaping. It uses 33% less water than the average household uses to water their plants.

Studies found that of the automated watering systems, in ground sprinkler systems used 35% more and those with automatic timers use 47% more water than places that did not use such automated systems. These timesaving devices aren't saving you money or water.

Adding rain sensors, or better yet, soil sensors to your automated watering system saves water. You don't end up with the sprinkler system coming on in the middle of a rainstorm or right after one when the ground is already soaked.

Automated drip irrigation systems were found to be more efficient in the study using only 16% more than used by non-automated watering households. Add the above sensors and you will have an even better system.

Perhaps the best tip is to not over water. This goes to more than not watering after a rainstorm. It includes watering to your landscaping plants' specific moisture requirements. Consider including less water intensive plantings in your landscaping. It means watering, as your soil requires. Adjust your watering schedule from that needed in the high temperatures of summer to the less watering needed in fall as temperatures go down.

Copyright 2005, Sandra Dinkins-Wilson


About the Author
Want landscaping tips and information? Check out our Landscaping and Gardening info website at http://www.landscaping-and-gardening.info. Get all the latest information in the world of landscaping.

For more lawn care tips please visit www.fairyring.ca

" How to" for Lawns- Mowing

"How to" for Lawns - Mowing by Brad Slade


How often you mow your lawn will depend on a number of factors. Firstly how much time you have to devote to your lawn's maintenance. How fast your lawn grows, and this in turn will depend on whether you fertilise it regularly and whether it receives adequate water and sunlight. Normally, lawns should be mowed at least one a fortnight to keep them in check, so to speak.

One of the worst things you can do for a lawn and a big misconception is that you can or should mow your lawn very short in order to reduce the number of times you have to mow it. Grass generally will do much better when mowed at a higher setting. This is especially the case in the summer months, where short grass can often be burnt by the sun otherwise. It is suggested that you should never be cutting or trimming off more than 1/3 of the length of the grass in a mowing session. If you have let your lawn go and it is far too long, it is recommended that you firstly mow it at a longer cut and then remow it at a slightly lower setting. If it is still too long, then you can go over it again in a couple of days time. Although this is time consuming it is the preferred method for caring for your lawn. Needless to say like having your hair cut, you should maintain your equipment. In this case make sure your mower blades are sharp and in good condition. Remove any stone or other obstructions from the lawn before mowing to avoid any damage to the mower or lawn.

Other recommendations for mowing a perfect lawn:

• Do mow in different directions, it does not matter which way - whether it is diagonal, horizontal, or vertically each time you mow your lawn. This prevents the grass blades from curving in a particular direction after numerous cuts.

• It is well known that you should never mow when your lawn is still wet. The reason for this, however, is not so well known. There are actually two reasons for this. Firstly, you will not be cutting your lawn evenly and when it dries may be a lot longer than expected. Secondly, you can often cause fungus to establish itself.

• For the lawn bowl look of a flatten smooth lawn larger lawn rollers can be purchased. To use these you simply roll them over your lawn after mowing in nice even and straight rows.


About the Author
HCOA is a directory of information on mowers, tractors, fertilizers, grass and outdoor appliances. For more information you can visit their website at http://www.hcoa.com.au

For more information on Fairy Rings visit www.fairyring.ca

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Selecting A Pest Control Company

Selecting a Pest Control Company
by Aldene Fredenburg
If you have a problem with unwanted pests in your home, and youve exhausted all the self-help remedies you know, you may be considering hiring a commercial pest control company to deal with the problem. Hiring a professional might be exactly the right solution for you; but you need to do your homework.
First, how do you locate a company? Checking the yellow pages of your local phone book might be a good start; doing a keyword search on the Internet for your area could also work, and you have the added benefit of seeing what information the company provides, on itself and on pest control generally. Ask friends and coworkers for recommendations
After youve developed a list of pest control services, and before you call these companies, start asking more questions of your friends and coworkers. Have any of them used these companies? What was their experience? Did the company in question solve their pest infestation issues? Were there any problems dealing with the company? Any problems in the home after the company performed their services?
Once youve narrowed down your list to a few potential providers, call them on the phone, and ask some more questions: does the company offer a free home evaluation and estimate of costs? Does it give you advice on what you can do to deal with the problem yourself? Is the company willing to answer questions readily?
Specific questions to ask: what kinds of chemicals are used? (If possible, have them provide written information on the chemicals.) What sorts of side effects or potential dangers do these chemicals have on family members, adults and children, and on pets? Do your family and household pets need to vacate the premises during the pest control treatment?
Make sure you ask whether the company offers nontoxic, natural pest control. The company should be willing to at least discuss the options; if its representative just dismisses the notion of nontoxic pest control without intelligently discussing the pros and cons of the natural remedies available, but just wants to get into your house and spray, beware!
With written information (or your own notes) in hand, do your own research on any chemicals that will be used - their effectiveness, their possible side effects, their potential toxicity. (The Internet is a great place to start for this.) If you have family members with serious health issues, particularly asthma or other respiratory ailments, make sure you know what the potential effect of sprayed compounds could have on them.
Finally, if you have any questions about the companys reliability, and you cant find anyone you know and whose judgment you trust to vouch for them, contact your local or state Better Business Bureau or Consumer Fraud Division, to find out whether there have been any complaints lodged against them.
Once youve hired a company make sure you know who is going to be showing up at your home and when. Make sure they have proper I.D., and ask if you can be there to supervise the process or if you have to leave, and for how long. And while youve got access to the professional treating your home, ask what you can do to avoid pest control problems in the future, particularly those involving destructive carpenter ants and termites. The guy (or gal) who actually does the work probably has insights into the subject that the office staff doesnt have.
Aldene Fredenburg is a freelance writer living in southwestern New Hampshire and frequently contributes to Tips and Topics. She may be reached at amfredenburg@yahoo.com.

For more information on Lawn Care visit www.fairyring.ca

Why Grow Grass?by John Merrill You may have asked yourself this question at one time or another. It's like a curious child's question that goes something like: Daddy, why is the sky blue? Daddy, what is the wind? or Daddy, why do Democrats hate Republicans? Uh...We grow grass for one reason: we can mow it. Grass is one of the few plants that can survive a good mowing, it even thrives on being mown. Ah, a contradiction of sorts. Any other plant, even most other grasses would die from being cut by a third every week. There are over 10,000 species of grass, yet only about 50 of those grasses are suitable for use in a lawn. These are what are called turf grasses. Why can a turf grass be regularly mown without dying and still maintain a healthy and attractive appearance? Unlike most plants, turf grasses grow from the base of the plant, down there just above the soil level at place called the crown. The growing zone is well below the sharpened rotating lawn mower blade. Other plants grow at the tips and don't respond well to being repeatedly cut.The process of mowing actually reduces the plants total leaf surface and this in turn reduces its ability to use photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process that takes carbon dioxide from the air (the stuff we exhale when we breathe) and turns it into carbohydrates that the plant uses for food. The food is the used to create more plant cells that go into either the leaf or the root system. When the plant looses some of this ability use photosynthesis, it overcompensates by producing additional leaves or by sending out additional roots that in some turf grasses, will send up a new grass plant. The result: an even thicker, denser lawn.So, the answer to the question "why grow grass?" is: because it's the one plant that adapts best for the environment we've created for ourselves. Now about those Democrats and Republicans...John Merrill is editor of Landscape-America.com and American-Lawns.com

For more information on Fairy Ring and other lawn related problems visit www.fairyring.ca