Chances are you have glanced out your front window this week and wondered if it’s worth cutting your grass one more time. Nighttime temperatures have gradually fallen, and we have already experienced at least one “killing frost.”
Yet Western New Yorkers experienced a record-breaking high temperature on Oct. 25 (79 degrees) so the grass continues to grow.
The fact that we will debate about one more grass-cutting is in stark contrast to the perceptions of spring. April and May inspire most of us to fertilize and nurture the lawns, plants and trees around our homes. We keep at the task well past dusk, to finish trimming or a landscaping project.
November leaves us so weary of lawn care that we no longer feel insulted if a 12-inch twig mars the carpet of green we spent so much time caring for during the past seven months. It might be heresy, but I have been known to wish for rain just so that I could politely postpone raking the leaves.
Yet homeowners should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and accept the next four weeks as a final installment in the process of maintaining a higher than average level of curb appeal. The branches and leaves you ignore today will come back to haunt you during the first thaw of February.
Therefore, I will bravely cut the grass once more this season. Just to sharpen things up. Small twigs and thin branches will be ground up by my mower, as will some leaves.
Once the colder weather takes root, mowing leaves will create more of a mess than it’s worth.
The legitimate landscape architects among us will glance back at the garage and contemplate the edger and the trimmer. Will my neighbors think I’m showboating if I edge the sidewalk one more time? Will the sound of the trimmer trigger feelings of animosity?
Maybe I’ll go easy on them this time.
The best lawns in America – golf courses – will be maintained with precision for as long as possible. I don’t play golf, but I share the admiration for a blanket of green on my property.
I leave the science behind it all to the professionals at lawn care companies who craft fertilizer and improve seed to grow wherever it’s sunny, shady or somewhere in between.
I expect all of the kinks to have been ironed out before I open the package. And unlike Carl Spackler from the film “Caddyshack,” I do not endorse any personally prepared hybrids.
My Father’s Day gift two years ago was four applications of lawn care provided by one of the companies that pulls up to your house and a worker wearing heavy rubber boots drags a hose to the four corners of your yard, soaking it with Mother Nature’s miracle solution.
A rival to rainfall and dusty bags of fertilizer, it kills the dandelions and makes the grass as lush as the best fairway at St. Andrews Old Course.
Plus, I don’t have to do it myself.
Leave it to the late “Doc” Abraham, author of the Green Thumb columns and books, to find the words to express his admiration for a nice lawn.
He quoted Sen. John J. Ingalls on the subject.
“Next in importance to the divine profusion of water, light and air may be reckoned the universal beneficence of grass. Grass is the forgiveness of nature – her constant benediction,” he said, in obvious poetic terms closely associated with the close of the 19th century when it was written.
Abraham put it in simpler terms in 1992. He pointed out the value of grass in freshening air, filtering dust and dirt, controlling erosion and deadening noise.
“One acre of grass near your home has the cooling effect of a 140,000-pound air conditioner,” he calculated.
The least we can do is keep it looking nice while it’s still in sight.
Don’t put the mower away just yet.