What does it really take to have a lush lawn?
Understanding how a grass plant grows lies the answers...
A common lawn is basically comprised of one or more types of grass plants and possible alienating weeds that cover an expanse of land. And there could be at least a million individual grass plants that form on 100 square metres of your land. So it is no wonder an avid lawn and garden curator can find worry when trying to cultivate a lush lawn.
If we tried to use the same logic when trimming plants, we'd find that if we mowed our lawn too short, it would most probably die. But this is not the case with most grass plants. New growth in plants are seen with budding leaves from the top portion of the plant, but for a grass plant, it buds a new leaf blade from the lower portion of the stem.
The crown area is also responsible for bearing the initial roots into the ground, but the interesting thing is that new growth will then take place at the tips of the existing roots and not from the crown area. The roots then become the fibrous network in search for water and nutrients to sustain the grass plant.
How a grass plant will spread will be determined by what species of grass you have. Some will grow tall, some ornamental, some will clump and some will spread. There really are only four ways a grass plant will reproduce; 1. seeding, 2. tillering, 3. rhizomes, and 4. stolons.
1. Going to seed can work in different varieties but you need not mow your lawn until the seed head has released the sporn. Many times we cut our the portions of the grass plant that produce the seed head and do not get the reproduction we desire to thicken our lawns. And with today's hybrid varieties, the plants will remain sterile, not producing a seed that could germinate another viable plant offspring.
2. Tillering is a new shoot that forms off the side of the main grass plant's stem. Your grass will have the appearance of it getting thicker and clumping.
3. Rhizomes are underground runners that form another complete plant a short distance from the mother plant. It will be complete with its own rhizomes for producing more plants nearby. Rhizomes have been responsible for shooting up grass plants in places you do not want, like the garden bed and the pathways, but also are handy to grass over a dry patch in your lawn.
4. Stolons are above ground runners that travel on the soil and stretch out to find easy to root in soil (and not hard clay) to produce another plant The stolons can be short or long and have the ability to weave through other plants to find it's new breeding ground.
And here is where the story of your grass plants get really interesting...
The fertiliser you use is not actually plant food, but instead is the raw building blocks that help a plant make its own food. Remember the term 'photosynthesis'? Where plants use sunlight to make their own food in their leaf blades.
The energy from the sun helps turn carbon dioxide from the air and its internal water within the leaf into sugars. These sugars are the grass plant's food used to create proteins, fats, cellulose and other necessary building blocks to help create a viable plant.
So if we want a healthy lush lawn, we need to retain the plant's food factory and that means to cut your lawn higher. But just remember, an overgrown lawn will have the stems grow higher to find the more of the sun's energy for photosynthesis, in turn cutting it high, can still remove the left blades food factory and can lead to an unhealthy lawn. In summary, mow high, but mow routinely.
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