The signature of suburbia
When April and May come around, Louisiana lawns start getting into high gear. Love it or hate it, most homeowners have to think about mowing the lawn. After all, where are the kids going to play ball?
St. Augustine is the most popular type of turfgrass planted here, although the LSU Ag Center says its popularity is decreasing. Centipede, Bermuda and zoysia are other types of turfgrass suited for Louisiana’s climate.
A common cause of unhealthy St. Augustine lawn is mowing too low and/or too often. As a general rule, no more than one-third of the grass length should be cut. Mowing height should be set at about 3 inches for St. Augustine. This way, the grass shades out young weeds and has plenty of leaf surface for photosynthesis.
A properly maintained lawn is an aesthetically pleasing part of the landscape, but how exactly did America come to be a nation of lawns? It seems to be an old British tradition that grew with the industrial age, and the arrival of suburban settings completed the equation.
Medieval castles maintained one of the first examples of lawns, as they kept a wide perimeter clear of trees so they could spot friend or foe. Wealthy landowners began taking an interest in closely shorn grass lawns in the 17th century as part of the landscaping.
In 19th century America, city parks became synonymous with manicured lawns and carefully tended trees. Golf courses also began popping up in the late 1800s, as mechanical lawnmowers came to be a common sight.
Around 1948, the first suburban neighborhood was built, complete with a pre-installed lawns. Since then many improved varieties of turfgrasses have been developed.