When you are walking on a lawn, what are the grasses you are stepping on? Well if you pull up a piece on the edge it might look something like this. With a white bottom sheath and upper parts of leaf blades and leaf stems.

Being an observant plants person, you want to identify the grass. Take a look to see if the emerging leaves come out folded or in a round roll. You can roll it back and forth between your fingers to figure it out. Like this one in the round:

Or like this folded:

Then you want to look closer. Bend that leaf back. Check the veins on the leaf – are they prominent throughout, or is just the middle vein showing? Where the leaf bends back there might be more tiny structures to examine. A little thing called a ligule, or some little ears that hang off of it called auricles. Check out the clear membranous ligule and long clasping auricles on this annual rye grass:

Behind these plant parts is the collar on the back. Sorry dont have any pictures of those here. But they are worthwhile also in narrowing down the name of the grass you are looking at. Sometimes it is the flowers and seeds that will clue you in. The cute lil inflorescences of annual blue grass ( Poa annua) are hard to miss once you keep an eye out for them. They so short that they flower and fruit and drop seeds before the mower can get to them. Plus they are often a bright light green:

While you are staring at the lawn for sure you will see the green leaves and some dead leaves too. If that builds up you have some thatch to take care of.

Unless you are super manicured and on top of things, the lawn will likely have a bunch of other plants other than grasses growing in it. Heres a sample of them. How many of these do you know? Do you know their medicinal or ornamental uses? Or their scientific names? Or how to make a daisy chain?

Learn the common lawn daisy, buttercup, clover, dock, and plantain. Plantain (Plantago) not plantain like the banana you cook to eat.

And of course before you start mowing better take care of the droppings. If the spinning blades hit em you gonna have a mess:

There is one grass around here that is the super weed. It is called Erharta. As you go around exploring you will for sure see it. In some of the older golf courses they have given up trying to get rid of it. Just try to keep it out of the fairway and in the roughs, mowed:

Here it is again. Grasses, rodents and flies – three creatures that just dominate.

Better get on it. Spring is coming and the grass is growing. Here are a handful of mowers to get the job done. Learn the difference between a reel mower and a rotary mower. Reel not Real. Also look to see the power source for the mower. Is it electric battery, electric plug in, or is it some kind of fuel? Is it straight unleaded gas, or is it gas with some oil added in it. In other words, is it 2 cycle or 4 cycle?

And once in a while you run into a fly mow that levitates on a bed of air. What is that about!?

Back in the day, working down at Civic Center, we would mow the lawns on the plaza, and also around City Hall and the main library. This middle section was once a lawn. And before that, a reflecting pool. Now, it is just decomposed granite:

This is the mower that would be used once a week. Irrigate five days. Let it dry a day. Then mow. Change it up if its been raining, or if big events are happening on the plaza.

Sometimes you would want to dethatch or groom the turf:

And after the demonstration or parade or protest or gathering, it would be wise to alleviate the compaction in the root zone of the grasses and give them some air with an aerator:

At the childrens playground on the plaza, there was kids playing on the artificial turf. It still requires maintenance, just not the mowing and watering variety:

Drifted on down to Golden Gate Park, so that I could show you bent grass. A real peculiar grass that tolerates being mowed real short. It is the grass they use on putting greens, and also on the lawn bowling greens. Mowing height, that is a good topic for discussion:

The pull chord broke on the Snapper mower, gotta fix it. More later…