“What makes the grass grow?” “Blood! Blood! Blood!”

This is a common Marine Corps chant that you’ll hear during basic training, usually under the sun while the drill instructor paces back and forth in front of the recruits. We all know that blood can save lives on the battlefield through a transfusion. But does blood really make the grass grow? Not like it’s something that you’d like to do, I hope.

What makes grass grow?

Some green grass from early spring. Can blood make grass grow like this? MarcusObalCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Growing grass is just like growing any other plant: it needs good, healthy soil, ample sunlight, and water. Lawn grass, for instance, is pretty easy to plant and nurture. Plant the seeds at the right time, plant in soil with the right Ph level, use the right fertilizers, water it regularly, and you’re good to go.

To be specific, the top three nutrients that grass needs to grow are potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus.

Nitrogen gives the grass its vibrant green color and makes each grass blade strong and tall.

Potassium activates other minerals and nutrients in the grass and plays an important role in plant formation.

As per the Turf Grass Group, phosphorus “is critical for grass health. It helps the roots of the grass to grow and supports the plant in times of environmental stress. If there is not enough phosphorous in the soil, it can limit growth and even make your lawn weak. It is important to fertilize properly because an excess of phosphorous can leak into the water supply through a buildup in the soil. Increasing microbial activity is a healthy and effective way to ensure your grass has plenty of phosphorous without causing harm to the surrounding environment.”

Now, let’s have a look at the components of blood

Two drops of blood are shown with a bright red oxygenated drop on the left and deoxygenated blood on the right. Unknown authorCC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons