On Fertilizing and Mowing

Every Middle America neighborhood has one retired old coot who seems to have nothing better to do but cut his lawn every other day.  I realized the other day:  I’ve become that guy.

For over 40 years, the debate has continued between TLOML and me:  How frequently should we fertilize our lawn — if at all?

One school of thought on this hotly-discussed subject holds that in order to have a suitable – indeed, a lush, vibrant – lawn, one should fertilize four times a year, at the spring and summer Holidays:  Easter, Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day.  (We’ll ignore those fanatics who hold that another fertilization in late autumn is just what the little blades need to flourish.)  The other school of thought — while conceding that one does not want one’s lawn to be an embarrassment; one does not want the neighbors muttering that you’re endangering their property values — holds that except in rare instances, fertilization is The Devil; that all that happens when one fertilizes is that the grass will grow, simply increasing the number of times that one must mow.  This approach posits that relatively fewer summer fertilizations, while perhaps not yielding the lushest green carpet, will nonetheless be sufficient to avoid embarrassment.

Yet another debate:  Is it safe to mow when if it’s too hot?  This is not an expression of concern for the safety of the mower, but rather:  Won’t mowing when it’s too hot shock the grass?  There is, of course, the contrary philosophy:  This is mowing day.  Grass has survived for millennia.  It’ll survive mowing by a septuagenarian wielding a lawnmower that is, in dog years, even older than he is.

I have felt for decades that if I could spray paint our entire lot with a long-lasting grass-green paint (with pebbles, of course, for texture), such would be mighty tempting.  Given the little likelihood that I will be able to implement such a strategy, and since I’ve largely lost the fertilization debate, I am holding out for new scientific pronouncements.  In light of the way that many in our area embraced No Mow May, I am now hoping that some melittologist will declare that mature weeds, like long grass, fosters bee survival.  Perhaps then TLOML will embrace a new, “Leave the Weeds to the Bees” movement 😉 .

Have a great weekend.  Given the challenges we face domestically and internationally, there is no better time to celebrate and cherish our Independence Day.

One thought on “On Fertilizing and Mowing

  1. Jim, it seems an intervention may be needed. Send you to Lawn Fanatics Anonymous. “Hi, I’m Jim and I think about my lawn way too much.”


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