I confess, my grass is a mess. Not for lack of trying. This summer in general, things aren’t growing according to plan. See here and here for more on the metaphysical side of things – this post, however, is about the actual grass. Which is really more a collection of weeds with grass interspersed.
The problems: (1) dogs pee on grass, killing it and creating dead zones where the Ph of the soil itself is hostile to anything but hardy weeds; (2) bad soil build up from point (1) and also the soil is just not good in the grassy sections – a mix of hard and sandy; (3) invasive plants from other areas of the yard move in before new grass can take hold.
I’m not ashamed (well maybe a little), so here are some pictures of the problems:
Getting down in there after a couple days of intense hands-and-knees weeding, I took stock of the main offenders:
I’ve done the research and contemplated the situation, standing over my lawn like a golem, wondering where I’ve gone wrong. But it’s not me, it’s that the situation has folded in on itself over the years, compounding into a layers of problems stacked on top of each other. It’s no longer a “lawn,” it’s a collection of weeds, prairie grasses, Rye, Fescue and Bluegrasses, with swiss-cheese holes of dog pee burn accents.
I keep digging up patches of earth trying to “reset” them. This year I dug up a 10 x 20 foot patch, turning it over, adding soil amendment, burning out weed roots, letting that settle in. Then I go in and re-seed the area and do all the stuff you’re supposed to do: (1) water only in the mornings, (2) water about 1″ per week (don’t over-water), (3) don’t cut any of it until it gets about 4″ tall, then only cut it back to 3″ once a week, (4) no chemicals, (5) keep the mower blade sharp, (6) let the grass clippings act as a natural mulch, (6) whenever a dog pees on any of it, pour a batch of diluter sugar-water on that area to neutralize it.
No dice. The grass doesn’t grow in fast enough to compete with the weeds.
So next season I’m thinking about a nuclear option – Pet Zen Garden Artificial Turf.
(1) It will keep my friend Chuck happy, because he has this thing about the way we waste zillions of gallons of water on our stupid American lawn fetish (he’s probably right about that) and (2) It will look amazing (if I install it correctly) and last about 10 years if I take care of it. No water. No weeds. (3) I can spend more time in the actual garden taking care of actual gardening.
This has been a grass mess confess.