10 Misconceptions About Lawns

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iStock

In this video from our YouTube archives, host Elliott Morgan clears up some misconceptions about lawns. Transcript courtesy of Nerdfighteria.

Hi, I'm Elliott, and this is Mental Floss on YouTube. Today, I want to talk about some misconceptions about your lawn ... like, specifically your lawn. Isn't that crazy?

1. BROWN GRASS IS DEAD.

Brown can mean one of two things: dead or dormant. Grass typically turns brown as a result of dormancy over the winter. When spring arrives, this can be fixed with water and go back to green. Usually, all it takes is a change in weather.

2. IF YOU CUT GRASS REALLY SHORT, IT'LL TAKE LONGER TO GROW BACK.

Some people try to save themselves from more mowing sessions by cutting their grass super, super short, but this actually has the opposite effect than intended. Many experts claim that grass that's cut too short actually grows back faster. Plus, doing this puts it at risk for becoming unhealthy and then you have to worry about weeds taking over your lawn, and nobody wants that. The best way to avoid this is by mowing more often and only removing, like, one-third of the grasses' length at a time.

3. THE BEST WAY TO GET A GREEN LAWN IS BY USING FERTILIZER.

While fertilizer does help, there are other factors involved when it comes to having a nice, pretty, green lawn that you can brag to your neighbors about. For example, there are different turfgrass species and some are different colors than others. A good way to get the lawn color that you actually want is to do some research. One organization to check out is the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program, which works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture every year to evaluate turfgrass color, quality, et cetera.

4. FERTILIZING SHOULD BE DONE IN SPRING.

When you should fertilize depends on where you live, but lots of people get way too over-eager and they do it way too early. Many experts recommend you wait until April, May, or even early June. It's best to let grass regrow itself naturally before piling on the fertilizer, which is another word for fancy poo.

5. DETHATCHING SHOULD BE DONE IN THE SPRING.

Depending on where you live, experts generally recommend that this activity wait until the summer. Some even claim that you can wait until fall. This is for the same reason you shouldn't fertilize in the spring. The grass is in the middle of its regrowth process. Don't interrupt it, y'all. You also shouldn't dethatch while it's very hot outside or very dry.

6. LAWNS SHOULD BE WATERED DAILY.

Again, keep in mind that lawns can be different, based on your location, but a typical one requires around 1 to 1.5 inches of water weekly. That doesn't mean you have to water it every single day or leave a sprinkler running at all times. Water your lawn, like, a couple days a week, but be aware of the conditions outside. On particularly rainy weeks, it might not require any additional water.

7. CLOVERS ARE USELESS AND SHOULD BE WEEDED OUT IMMEDIATELY.

First of all, that's very mean. For a long time, clover has been considered a weed that should be removed from lawns, but nowadays, more people are embracing them and keeping them around. Come on, guys, join the clover movement. Clovers are both drought tolerant and unpleasant to pests. Plus, they help fertilize along through nitrogen fixation. They get nitrogen from the air and store it in their roots and that's pretty cool.

8. YOU SHOULD REMOVE CLIPPINGS AFTER MOWING THE LAWN.

Grass cycling is actually recommended. The leftover lawn clippings can do about 25 percent of fertilization for your lawn. This makes sense when you consider the properties of grass. It's like 80 percent water, plus a bunch of fertilizing nitrogen and grass cycling is super good for the environment, as that means there's less grass clippings taking up space in landfills.

9. WEARING CLEATS WHILE MOWING WILL HELP AERATE THE LAWN.

In theory, this makes sense, but most cleats in golf shoes have spikes shorter than half an inch. That's barely enough to make an impact in your lawn. Plus, according to experts, 5% of a lawn must be aerified for it to actually count. A typical person in cleats who's pushing a lawn mower around will only impact around .04% of the yard.

10. MOLES, ANTS, AND/OR WORMS ARE RUINING MY LAWN.

Speaking of aeration, moles actually aerate your lawn better than you can do with your cleats. Also, contrary to popular belief, moles aren't eating your grass or its roots. They're just searching for insects to eat. That's just kind of what they do, so maybe they're ruining the appearance of your lawn, but they're keeping it healthy at the same time. As for ants, they help aerate your lawn too, plus they help with water infiltration. Worms do the same thing and they leave behind lots of useful phosphorus. Plus, they're, like, kind of cute. I mean, they're gross, but they're in a cute way.

Thanks for watching Misconceptions on Mental Floss on YouTube, which is made with the help of all these wonderful people. If you have a topic for an upcoming Misconceptions episode that you would like to see, leave it in the comments below and we'll take a look at it and I'll see you next week. Bye.

[Images and footage provided by Shutterstock.]

17 Signs That You’d Qualify as a Witch in the 1600s

YouTube
YouTube

Are you a woman? Do you have a birthmark? Do you enjoy spending quality time with friends without a chaperone? You might just be a witch! At least that's how the thinking went in the 1600s, when now completely normal behaviors could have seen you accused of witchcraft.

Grab your broom and the pointiest black hat you can find, and join Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy as she shares 17 signs that might have branded you a witch during the 17th century in this week's all-new edition of the Mental Floss List Show. You can check out the full episode below:

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!

Driver Captures Avalanche Crashing Down Colorado Mountainside on Video

iStock.com/wakr10
iStock.com/wakr10

Aside from being attacked by a mountain lion, getting caught in the middle of an avalanche is probably a Coloradan's worst nightmare. As Mashable reports, that became a reality for multiple people who were driving down a highway near Denver on March 3.

On Sunday, two separate avalanches ripped down a mountainside in Summit County's Ten Mile Canyon. The first one sent plumes of snow across Interstate 70 between Copper Mountain and the nearby town of Frisco, Colorado. Later that evening, a second, heavier avalanche caused the same highway to shut down for three hours.

No one was injured and no cars were buried in either instance, but video footage of the phenomenon shows just how bad it could have been. In one video posted to Twitter by Jeremy Hubbard, an anchor with local Fox affiliate KDVR, a driver puts his or her car in reverse and starts backing up as the snow rushes towards their vehicle. Further ahead, one truck seems to disappear into the snowy mist. However, according to Hubbard, the bulk of the snow never reached the road in the first avalanche.

The second avalanche was also a close call for many people. One driver named Will captured the action in his side view mirror, which you can watch in the video below. (Warning: He uses some adult language.)

Avalanches are not an uncommon sight at Colorado's Berthoud Pass and Red Mountain Pass, but they seldom occur along I-70. In this particular instance, "heavy snow across the high mountains created conditions favorable for avalanches," The Denver Post explained. Sometimes, when there's a build-up of snow, the Colorado Department of Transportation will proactively shut down highways and conduct controlled avalanches in order to prevent potentially dangerous incidents like what happened on Sunday.

For skiers and snowboarders, safety precautions are especially important. Avalanche beacons (devices that send your location to rescue crews) can be lifesavers. Read up here on some of the other guidelines you can follow to save yourself should disaster strike.

[h/t Mashable]

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