To have the best lawn possible, it is important for homeowners to take a little bit of time to understand grass and its growth. Providing appropriate lawn care is always necessary to have a lush, green lawn.
But there is more to lawn maintenance than simply mowing and sprinkling. By understanding the grass plant and its anatomy, and what helps and hurts it, homeowners can be one step ahead for next season, and a great lawn.
The Anatomy of Grass
Grass exists in thousands of species, from ornamental and edible types to the ground cover varieties – like those used to grow most lawns.
To fully understand lawn care requirements, and the lawn maintenance necessary to grow strong, healthy lawns, it is essential to understand a few things about grass as follows:
- Roots – Grassroots are fibrous, thread-like structures that grow downward into the soil. Grass, like all other plants, gets its nutrition through its roots. This is why it is so important that watering and feeding be done in ways that allow water and nutrients to be absorbed into the soil.
- Stolons and Rhizome – Stolons are root-like extensions that grow along the ground. Rhizomes are extensions that extend just under the ground. New plant shoots grow from these horizontally growing roots, creating a new plant without it having to grow from seed. Offshoot plants remain supported by these connections until they grow roots of their own.
- Crown and Culm – The crown of the grass plant rises up from the central ball that roots generate from, just at or under the surface of the soil. This is also where grass stems, called culms, shoot up.
- Sheath and Blade – A grass leaf is comprised of two main parts, the sheath, which is a hollow tube, and the blade. The blade, or leaf, grows out from the protective layer of the sheath.
- Florets – When grass reproduces by way of seed, this happens after florets, or small flowers grow and pollinate each other. A successfully pollinated flower will produce grass seeds, which drop to the soil and take root to become new grass plants.
There is More to A Lawn Than Grass
The anatomy of the grass plant is helpful for understanding how grass reproduces and grows. It is also important to know this to appreciate the work the delicate root system actually does.
There is more that goes into growing grass into a healthy lawn than just the grass itself – including the following:
- Soil – Since grass plants obtain nutrients from the soil, it is essential the soil be of high quality to provide what they need. Therefore, the soil of poor consistency, or depleted of nutrients must be supplemented to improve the availability of nutrients. This is what fertilizer and other lawn and soil additives do.
- Sunlight – Without sunlight, grass and other plants cannot grow. Sunlight is also responsible for photosynthesis, which is what gives the grass its green color.
- Water – Having enough water is crucial for grass growth, especially when plants are young, and still developing deep roots. Grassroots grow best in soils that stay moist at least a few inches down and are not so compact as to prevent them from growing deeper. This is achievable with adequate watering, and by sometimes adding organic matter, such as compost, to the soil.
By supplying the things referenced above, and considering the anatomy of a healthy grass plant, the only other thing a lawn needs to promote good growth, and good health, is good lawn maintenance.
This includes regular watering, fertilizing and mowing, as recommended for the specific grass species. Regular lawn care for good root development, proper plant nutrition, and prevention of weeds and insect infestation is the final part in the anatomy of a beautiful green lawn!