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.]

What's the Difference Between a Break and a Fracture?

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iStock.com/belterz

A lot of people tend to think that breaking a bone is worse than fracturing it—or perhaps they believe it's the other way around. Others may think of a fracture as a specific kind of break called a hairline crack. However, as Arkansas-based orthopedic surgeon Dr. C. Noel Henley points out in the YouTube video below, these are all common misconceptions. A fracture and a break are actually one and the same.

“There’s no difference between these two things,” he says. “A fracture means the cracking or breaking of a hard object. One is not worse than the other when it comes to breaking bones.”

Some of the confusion might stem from the fact that the word fracture is often used to describe specific kinds of breaks, as in compound fractures, oblique fractures, and comminuted fractures. In all cases, though, both break and fracture refer to any instance where “the normal structure of the bone has been disrupted and damaged,”  Henley notes.

This isn’t the only common misconception when it comes to cracked bones. The idea that a “clean break” is a good thing when compared to the alternative is a myth. Using the scaphoid bone in the wrist as an example, Dr. Henley says a clean break in the “wrong” bone can still be very, very bad. In some cases, surgery might be necessary.

According to the BBC, other bone myths include the belief that you’ll be unable to move a certain body part if your bone is broken, or that you’ll instantly know if you have a fracture because it will hurt. This isn’t always the case, and some people remain mobile—and oblivious to their injury—for some time after it occurs. Even if you think you have a minor sprain or something seemingly small like a broken toe, it’s still a good idea to see a doctor. It could be more serious than you realize.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

Watch the Game of Thrones Cast Play 'Would You Rather'

HBO
HBO

Although it seems like time is moving painfully slowly toward the premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones, it seems as if we're getting daily reminders about the show's return.

This morning, the first official photo for season 8 of Game of Thrones was released by Entertainment Weekly. The publication also sat down with stars Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), and Kit Harington (Jon Snow) for a game of Would You Rather.

Even though the video doesn't really give us much insight as to what's to come for season eight, it's still fun to compare our answers to those of the stars of the show! EW asked the actors everything from "Would you rather: ride a dragon once or own a direwolf for life" to "Would you rather: hug a man with greyscale or kiss Walder Frey" and "Would you rather: have ​Daenerys or Cersei as an enemy?"

Game of Thrones is set to return for its final season in the first half of 2019.

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