Cory Lancaster February 23, 2018
“Why are they painting the grass?!” has become a frequent query among Stetson students when they see the grounds crew spraying a green substance on the grass.
The answer to the question may surprise you.
The grounds crew does spray something on certain high visibility areas, such as the Stetson Green and the Palm Court, but it certainly is not paint. Instead, it is a substance called SARGE, which is a green, UV-blocking pigment. Think of it as a sunscreen mixed with tanning oil, but for plants!
Far from being harmful, SARGE actually lowers the environmental impact of lawn maintenance. As an alternative to pumping the soil full of extra fertilizer and watering the ground profusely, SARGE gives the grass a temporary full green color and helps protect the grass against heat and drought.
Although SARGE is a helpful tool, the grounds crew still adds fertilizer to the soil around campus to stimulate grass growth. Fertilizer use is a massive problem in Florida, and irresponsible lawn care is thought to be the main cause of the eutrophication (artificial nutrient enrichment) of Florida’s waterways, which leads to algal blooms. Algal blooms are detrimental to both freshwater and saltwater ecosystems, human health and local economies.
The grounds crew at Stetson is well aware of this fact, and they use a guideline called Best Management Practices (BMP) to make sure that the work they do in up-keeping the aesthetics of our campus does not harm the environment. In terms of fertilizer use, BMP prescribes that fertilizers are administered frequently, but in small amounts, so that all the nutrients can be absorbed by the plants. This prevents fertilizer from leeching deep into the soil and into the ground water, and is one of the reasons that we see the grounds crew working so frequently.
In 2016, Stetson hired a third party to evaluate how well it was performing in terms of using the correct amount of fertilizer. The third party, called Agro Services International, tested two areas on campus, the Palm Court, which is notorious for being highly managed, and the Sandhill Ecosystem behind the Gillespie Museum, which receives no chemical maintenance at all.
The samples from both sides came from 24 inches below the surface level, a depth at which much of the fertilizer would have already been absorbed by common ground-cover plants. Fertilizer is made of three primary components, which plants need to grow: nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, all of which were measured in the evaluation. As would be expected, the quantities of potassium and phosphorous were both much higher in the Palm Court than in the Sandhill Ecosystem. The concentration of potassium was 58 pounds per acre in the Palm Court and 16 pounds per acre in the Sandhill Ecosystem, and similarly the measure of phosphorous was 241 pounds per acre in the Palm Court as opposed to 94 pounds per acre in the Sandhill Ecosystem. Although the amounts of phosphorous and potassium were about three times higher in the Palm Court than in the Sandhill Ecosystem, according to Agro Services International, both were still in the low-optimum range and were of no cause for concern.
The results from this report also showed that the soil of both the Sandhill Ecosystem and Palm Court contained the exact same amount of nitrogen: 3 pounds per acre to be exact. According to Agro Services International, this is a minuscule amount, and the company actually recommended that Stetson increase the nitrogen in its fertilizer mix.
So, contrary to popular belief, Stetson University is doing well in terms of its fertilizer usage, and its practices are in full accordance with BMP. In addition to fertilizer usage, Best Management Practices also recommends a responsible and benign approach to pesticide usage, known as integrative pest management (IPM).
One of the fundamental components of IPM is the use of preventive measures. This includes keeping the number of pests low so that large amounts of pesticides never have to be applied. Just like with fertilizer usage, IPM recommends that pesticides be used more frequently and in smaller amounts, so that excess chemicals are not released into the environment.
Another key element of IPM is the use of narrow spectrum, or targeted pesticides. Unlike in the past, modern pest control specialists use pesticides that are designed to be lethal to only one or two specific types of pests, and broad spectrum pesticides are almost never used. In addition, the grounds crew at Stetson use organic targeted pesticides whenever possible.
For example, one organic pesticide used by the grounds crew is called Cropmaster Wipeout. This pesticide consists mostly of fish oil with some sesame oil and castor oil, and is targeted to kill scale and soft shell insects. If you have ever smelled something fishy around campus, this is why! The main priority of the Stetson grounds crew is safety, and every single pesticide used on the Stetson grounds is listed by the EPA as General Use. Only two pesticides that Stetson uses are listed as restricted, and they are only used on the sports fields by the Athletic Training Center (ATC) in specific circumstances.
Although many students might not realize it, the Stetson grounds crew is a modern and responsible team focused first on safety and second on the maintenance and beautification of Stetson’s campus. Although no chemical use is ideal, modern standards of aesthetics are integral to tuition-supported universities like Stetson and must be upheld for the school to continue to run.
So, next time, when you pass by a member of the grounds crew who has politely stopped his or her leaf blower for you, why not thank them for all the hard work they do, making Stetson the cleanest and most charming university around.
-Stetson Facilities Management
Why do they paint grass? ›
Far from being harmful, SARGE actually lowers the environmental impact of lawn maintenance. As an alternative to pumping the soil full of extra fertilizer and watering the ground profusely, SARGE gives the grass a temporary full green color and helps protect the grass against heat and drought.What is the green stuff people spray on their lawn? ›
The green stuff is a commercial mixture of grass seeds, fertilizer and water. This jumps starts the growth of grass in a steep hillside to prevent soil erosion. The grass seed is specially selected to germinate quickly so the soil will not wash away.Why do people spray their grass blue? ›
Actually, the blue color is just an indicator dye that allows the weed control applicator to see where they have already sprayed. This helps prevent excessive overlapping and over spraying which makes the applications safer and more economical.Does grass paint hurt the grass? ›
Will lawn paint hurt the grass or pets? No. Endurant lawn paint provides agronomic benefits to turfgrass and is environmentally friendly. Allow two hours after applying Endurant lawn paint before letting the dog or pets on the lawn so the lawn has had an opportunity to completely dry.How long does grass painting last? ›
When applied correctly, lawn paint will last 2 to 3 months and may require one or two applications during the winter months depending on where you live.What is the best thing to green your lawn with? ›
The number one way to increase the green color in your lawn is with Nitrogen. Nitrogen is one of the big three macronutrients needed in the greatest quantities for healthy turf. It promotes top growth in the lawn by pushing the production of chlorophyll in the plant.Is there a spray that only kills grass? ›
Product Details. Ortho Grass B Gon Garden Grass Killer is a ready-to-use, selective, systemic grass killer that can be used to kill existing weedy grasses in and around ground covers, plant beds, landscapes, individual shrubs, and trees. And it won't harm listed landscape plants when used as directed.What can I spray on my lawn to make it grow faster? ›
Hydroseeding—Professional spray on grass seed is excellent for growing a lawn quickly, but you may not be able to enjoy it entirely for a few months. You might choose hydroseeding if you're looking to fill in large patches of bare dirt.What does blue paint on grass mean? ›
BLUE: Potable, Water. GREEN: Sewers and Drain Lines. PURPLE: Reclaimed Water, Irrigation and Slurry Lines.How long does blue dye last on lawn? ›
When applied to turf, Turf Mark Blue disappears within 24-48 hours.
What does spraying grass mean? ›
Hydroseeding, also known as spray grass, is a process for planting grass using a slurry of seeds and mulch sprayed out through a hose. Effective for both small and especially large areas, hydroseeding can effectively and efficiently plant grass with much less effort compared to traditional means.Does rain wash away grass paint? ›
Once the lawn paint dries, the painted turf is safe for children and pets. The color won't run on dewy mornings, a rainfall won't wash it off, and it won't rub off on your clothes.What happens if you paint grass? ›
Increases surface temperature: This aids plant growth during the cold weather to come. Lower maintenance: Lawn paint protects the grass from drought and high heat as an alternative to putting more fertilizer and water into the soil.How much does it cost to paint grass? ›
Landscapers typically charge by the square foot to apply the paint, and once it dries, the color won't run. Prices vary but typically range from 25 cents to 35 cents per square foot of grass. On average, a 500-square-foot lawn is likely to cost $175 for a fresh coat of green paint.Is grass paint bad for environment? ›
Once the grass paint dries, though, it's 100% safe and non-toxic to pets and people. Finally, because it's non-toxic and made from natural materials, it poses no risk to insects, wild animals, or our waterways.How long does it take for grass paint to dry? ›
Spray the grass paint mixture about 4-6 inches from the grass in a circular motion. Average drying time takes 2–3 hours. Keep ALL traffic off of painted grass until it has completely dried.What chemical makes grass green? ›
Like many plants, grass produces a pigment called chlorophyll. This bright pigment absorbs blue and red light, reflecting green light back to your eyes. And that's not even chlorophyll's most important job! It helps the plant turn solar energy into food, a process called photosynthesis.Does Epsom salt make grass greener? ›
Epsom Salt, consisting of magnesium sulfate, is a naturally occurring mineral compound that can be used on your lawn for individual benefits or a holistic approach. By adding nutrients and strengthening the grass, Epsom salt assists in making the lawn greener, healthier, and softer.What is the best paint for grass? ›
Endurant grass paint is the best grass paint because it has different shades of green. These variations of colors types of grass paint afford the most natural look and appearance. It is important that the grass look as natural as possible.What kind of paint do they use on grass? ›
Endurant turf colorants are the paints used for painting grass. The best grass paints are characterized by the quality of the paint and how natural it looks on the grass. Endurant colorants are formulated to look natural and to last longer.
What can I put on my grass to make it greener and thicker? ›
Lawn grasses need food, just like other plants, but nutrients in soil often leach away with rainfall and irrigation. Regular fertilization throughout the growing season helps provide the nutrients your grass needs for thicker, healthier growth.
- Test Your Soil. Roots depend on healthy, nutritious soil to grow green and lush grass. ...
- Fertilize Your Lawn. A big part of knowing how to make your lawn greener is choosing the right fertilizer. ...
- Kill Weeds and Unwanted Insects. ...
- Use Grass Seed. ...
- Water Your Lawn. ...
- Aerate Your Lawn. ...
- Replace Lawn Mower Blades.
- Mow Your Lawn Correctly. ...
- Water Grass Properly. ...
- Fertilize Grass Adequately. ...
- The Importance of a Lawn Soil Test. ...
- Control Lawn Weeds, Insects, & Diseases. ...
- Aerate and Overseed Your Lawn When Needed. ...
- Deal With the Shady Spots in Your Lawn.
Use A Selective Herbicide (2-4D Active Ingredient)
2,4-D is the more common selective herbicide. Using it properly has minimal risks and is extremely effective at killing weeds without killing your grass. Selective herbicide works by entering the leaf of the weed and changing the way the plant handles nutrients.
- The Shovel Method.
- Vinegar. Vinegar is a good choice for folks looking for an inexpensive, natural method for killing grass. ...
- Boiling Water. ...
- Salt. ...
- Baking Soda. ...
- Solarization. ...
- Layering. ...
Layering, or sheet composting, is another effective way to kill your grass without chemicals, but is more practical for smaller areas. Again, you'll want to mow your lawn as short as possible before starting this process. You'll need lots of newspaper or cardboard and some compost and/or topsoil.Does Dish Soap help grass grow? ›
The Effect of Dish Soap on Lawns
Getting dish soap directly on your lawn is a sure way to end up with dead, dried-up patches of grass, no matter the type. Concentrated dishwashing liquid breaks down the healthy, oil-based tissue in the plant. This leads to leaves that can no longer retain moisture.
Aerate your lawn
If the ground appears hard or compacted, use a lawn aerator. This will help water, air and nutrients penetrate to have improved root development, resulting in a thicker lawn. Spread Westland Lawn Seeding Soil to fill any shallow holes and to level-out the surface.
Keep Your Lawn Thriving
Epsom Salt is not just a good fertilizer for flowers or vegetables. If you want your front yard turf to look lush and stay healthy all year long, spray the lawn with an Epsom Salt solution once a month. This treatment helps grass seeds germinate and develop into strong blades.
Grass paint is a green paint product for use on lawns and other grassy areas. It is generally used to enhance the color of natural lawns or cover brown spots. It is readily available at garden centers and nurseries and can be applied by landscapers or homeowners.
What does red spray paint on grass mean? ›
The different colored spray paint indicates the location of underground utilities according to Dig Safe. Below is the color coding system: RED: Electric Power Lines, Cables, Conduit and Lighting Cables. YELLOW: Gas, Oil, Steam, Petroleum or Gaseous Materials.Is painting grass a thing? ›
If your lawn has stubborn yellow or brown spots, you might want to consider lawn paint. Lawn painting is growing in popularity as an easy, affordable, and effective way to turn your lawn as green as the Irish hills without putting in a lot of time or expense.Does grass paint wash off? ›
Good quality lawn paint is formulated to be biodegradable and safe for the environment. Once the lawn paint dries, the painted turf is safe for children and pets. The color won't run on dewy mornings, a rainfall won't wash it off, and it won't rub off on your clothes.Do people really paint their grass green? ›
Painting lawns has become extremely popular, especially in areas where a homeowner can be charged up to $500 per day for watering their grass. Landscapers use a special paint that is non-toxic and environmentally friendly. It does not wash away and will last for several weeks, depending on the growth of the grass.