Thursday, May 18, 2006

The secret of my most beautiful lawn

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I have the most beautiful lawn in my neighborhood. Here's what I do.

In the late Fall, I sprinkle region-appropriate grass seed in the bare spots. No zoyssia! If we get cold rain and snow, it starts growing underneath before Spring. If there's no snow cover, and not enough rain, I feed the squirrels when they need feeding the most.

In very early Spring, immediately before or in the early minutes of a major rainstorm, long before the last frost, sprinkle more grass seed. At this time, it usually takes. It is critical that the grass start growing before the leaves appear on the trees, because it won't start itself once it's in shade.

No fertilizer except what history dog provides. ...more »History dog didn't like it when I tried using commercial fertilizer. Worse than that, the robins stayed away. The cardinals were willing to approach the bird feeder, but when they spilled bird seed, they wouldn't pick it up from the ground.

No chemical weed killers.

I mow the grass every weekend. No bagging; all clippings stay to replenish the growing grass, except what the birds take. The grackles always arrive when there's cut grass on the ground. I'm not sure if they're after the cut grass, or like the easy access to the worms below.

I will dig up dandelions when I'm in the mood at this time of year. With a shovel to get the roots. Of course, it's impossible to get them all.

My neighbors used Chemlawn. They have pure green, all even, all even, no weeds, no dogs or birds landing, not even worms. My lawn stands out at this time of year. None of the people think it's beautiful right now. The grackles, dogs, robins and cardinals think it's the best. Since there are more of them than there are people, I win any "most beautiful lawn" vote.

But that's not good enough for me. I want the most beautiful lawn for people also. I will have that soon, from eight to midnight, late June through late August.

The Chemlawn neighbors don't get the beauty I get. My secret ingredient is:

fireflies!

Fireflies don't get along with Chemlawn. It's striking walking through the neighborhood in the dark, how dull the Chemlawn properties are at night, nothing but streetlights above and lanterns by the front door. Nothing beautiful in between, nothing to see at all.

Fireflies love my lawn. They lay dormant there, until they're ready, when they rise from the ground, a little higher each hour, find the old maple tree they treat as a singles bar, and then sink back down, to rise up again the next night. All Summer long, in the prime walking and looking out the window hours.

The neighbors can have their daytime greenness. Heck, I'm not even here to see it during the week, and most of them aren't, either.

The secret of my most beautiful lawn isn't what I do to it, it's how, and when, I look at it.

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