I now have a copy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers’ Bulletin No. 1677.
Yes, that one. No. 1-6-7-7. “Planting and Care of Lawns”. Published in 1931, updated in 1935.
I now know the truth.
I know that in 1931, when this booklet was originally published, “A beautiful green lawn is the ambition of most home owners… but few are willing to expend the effort necessary for a successful lawn.”
Not much has changed in homeowner’s attitudes in the past 80 years. Too many homeowners want their lawn to look good, but they don’t want to put forth the effort, or don’t know what effort to put forth to make it look good.
I now know that the recommended seed mixture in 1931 for lawns in the northern areas of the country was:
17 parts Kentucky bluegrass
2 parts redtop (probably Agrostis gigantea)
1 part white clover.
It’s good to have the evidence that they did put clover in lawn seed mixtures. Who took it out and why? Of course, I know why. It isn’t completely green. But clover is good stuff. I credit clover with keeping the rabbits out of my garden. Plus, clover is good for the soil.
I know now that they also recommended leaving grass clippings on the lawn 80 years ago, unless of course you were mowing very tall grass and the clippings were smothering the lawn.
Why did someone invent lawn mowers with bags to catch lawn clippings? I think I have two, maybe three lawn mower bag attachments up in my attic. As a kid, I hated having to bag the lawn clippings as I mowed. That darn bag would fill up just as I got into the rhythm of mowing. It was disruptive. It was like having a good song stop just as you had become one with the beat.
I now know that in 1931, “the use of chemicals, thus far, has not yet proved a very effective method of controlling lawn weeds”. And furthermore, you just have to keep after your weeds to keep them in check.
I knew you could keep weeds in check. Though I’ve not done a good job of keeping after my weeds, in the lawn or elsewhere, I do believe in this 80 year old advice. Just keep after those weeds, and no matter what, don’t let them set seed.
I now know about lawn care in 1931. And I like it.