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Offered by: John Wilson, B.S., BC-HIS Blue Ribbon Hearing & Tinnitus Center

Just over a decade ago, I was in the middle of a project to replace the grass in the front yard of my new home. The lawn had died before we bought the house and had sat all winter long. We closed on the home and by the time we got our mailbox key and picked up our mail for the first time, we had a lovely letter from the HOA welcoming us to the community and advising us we were in violation of the HOA ordinances with a dead lawn and dead tree in the front yard. We were gently encouraged to fix the problem quickly or face fines and possibly torture, or something of that nature.

The first step I took to fix the problem was to turn the sprinkler system on and water the lawn. In the past on other lawns I had, doing something as simple as watering would bring back most dormant grass fairly quickly. However, watering did absolutely nothing. Not a single blade of grass turned green after two weeks of regular watering. Shortly thereafter a neighbor came by and explained that the grass had slowly died while the previous owner had it and had actually been dead for almost two years (the home had been vacant for over a year before we purchased it.) There was no bringing it back. It had to be replaced.

When I began the process of removing the old lawn, it became obvious why the grass had died. Whoever installed the original grass had simply placed sod on top of the existing clay material without any preparation of underlying soil. No root system had developed so the old grass rolled up off the ground just like removing carpet from a floor. Properly replacing the lawn required removing 6 to 8 inches of nutrient deficient clay and replacing it with a layer of healthy compost material. With the help of some friends and neighbors we laid the compost and sod, replaced the tree with the same type found in the majority of the yards on my street, and within a few weeks had a beautiful lawn and had appeased the HOA.

The next year I noticed nearly all of the neighborhood trees that were the same type of tree we had planted were looking sickly and many were dying. After two years, my tree showed that it was struggling with the same signs as the other trees. I researched the type of tree and necessary nutrients it needed that were lacking in the soils found in our area. I then began the tedious process of adding iron and other nutrients to the root area of the tree. Since then, nearly every other tree on the street has died, while ours has flourished.

For the first few years, the grass was healthy as I dutifully watered it, but then it began to thin. I tried some fertilizers and aerating, but it still continued to diminish in appearance. Then five years ago I realized I needed to add a layer of compost to the top of the soil to replace the nutrients that had been lost. However, I was in the process of opening a new business, and it quickly became too late in the season to add it without burning up the lawn. Every year for the next 3 years I would realize that I had missed the best window for adding the compost, and would say, “I will do it next year.” This year, I was able to get the compost on the lawn at the end of April, just prior to heavy rains. The improvement in the health of the grass was immediately noticeable and the lawn looks the best it has in years.

Being healthy requires knowing what to do AND doing it. The health of the plants in the yard did not happen on its own. It required observing physical characteristics and making changes based on appearance and other clues. The same is true with physical and mental health of people. Many physical and mental changes are the result of deficiencies and choices made in earlier years. Knowing what healthy choices contribute to better health and then having the discipline to make those choices impacts long term health. Maintaining healthy hearing is critical to long term brain health. To learn more about the relationship between hearing and brain health, schedule an appointment today.

Blue Ribbon Hearing & Tinnitus Center