Tuesday, April 19, 2011
During man’s existence on earth, he has sought to adapt other living beings to his use. The cultivation of plants represented a great advancement in man’s attempt to supply his physical needs. The gathering of food in the wild is again a very uncertain enterprise; as far as the quality, quantity and consistency of what could be gathered was concerned. Food producing plants could be grown near where you were living. They could be guarded from other gatherers and finally harvested and stored for future consumption when they were ripe or mature.
So it becomes evident that man has been modifying the natural world for a very long time. One of the most recent developments in this long history, concerns man’s desire to produce a pleasing area of closely cropped green meadow around his habitation. This obviously emulates the even appearance of grassy areas produced by sheep, goats, cows and horses as they graze. In fact, the first lawns were no more than closely cropped meadows.
The first lawn grasses were basically meadow grasses; most likely brought to this continent in the bedding straw of animals from Europe. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that men began to breed these grasses to improve their first quality. Early breeding programs involved sexual crosses of naturally selected grass plants that seemed to possess turf qualities.
It was in the middle of the twentieth century that remarkable improvements in turfgrass quality were finally accomplished. Much of the credit for these improvements in turf quality should go to Dr. C. Reed Funk. He arrived at Rutgers University in the early 1960’s. He was the first person to produce hybrid Kentucky Bluegrasses using apomictic cultivars. Prior to Dr. Funk’s breakthrough work, it was not possible to cross asexual Kentucky Bluegrasses. Unfortunately for the plant breeder, the most desirable breeding candidates seemed to be asexual or apomictic.
Dr. Funk was the developer of many turf-type, quality perennial ryegrasses as well. Prior to his time, perennial ryegrass was a comparatively coarse, meadow type grass plant. Today’s improved perennial ryegrasses are some of the most popular grasses in the world.
He is also well known for developing the first turf-type varieties of tall fescue. This plant was very coarse and not very attractive as turf. Remarkable advances have been made in tall fescues to the point that they are now getting harder and harder to distinguish from Kentucky Bluegrass in turf. They represent a lower growing, denser plant which holds its color with less fertilizer and water requirements. This is evident in Jonathan Green grass seed mixtures that include these grasses like our Black Beauty Ultra Mixture.
Much criticism has been heaped on the American Lawn; however it is not deserved for the following reasons. The lawn provides a clear, green area around the home that offers a sense of security and peace. It provides an area for children to play, free from nasty scrapes and bruises. The lawn absorbs great quantities of rain water, allowing the recharging of underground soil layers. This process greatly reduces the water that is available for soil erosion. The leaves of grass plants absorb pollutants, including those associated with acid rain and global warming. Grass plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen in return. Below ground, 90 percent of the weight of a grass plant is roots. A 5,000 square foot lawn releases enough oxygen for a family of eight.
The lawn around your home cools the immediate environment, saving on air conditioning costs. Lawns reduce noise and glare. Jonathan Green fertilizer applications applied to turf areas will remain, there releasing their nutrient values over time. Above ground, grass plants are 70 to 80 percent water. A 5,000 square foot lawn can have over four million plants.
The Jonathan Green Lawn occupies a warm place in our hearts. There is nothing lovelier on this planet than grass and flowers. Without them, we would not know true beauty.Back