Field of Science

Early fall lawn grooming tips

Ah, the smell of freshly mowed creeping Charlie in the morning; nothing quite like it. Although the Phactors have extensive gardens, so big is our city estate that enough lawn remains to more than equal the amount of lawn on 3 or 4 or 5 standard-sized city lots which around here are 50 x 150. Now this would be an onerous task except that much of our lawn is in light to heavy shade so it doesn't require mowing very often. In these circumstances nothing beats creeping Charlie or blue violets, except maybe a shade-loving sedge. Lawn purists will wrinkle their noses and not a month goes by but when some chemical lawn care company leaves its toxic brochures tucked in our front door. Creeping Charlie and blue violets only grow so tall, and today's mowing was the first mowing of the shadiest area in 2 months. Apply chemical lawn killers to this area and nothing would be left but bare ground, and while this might be turned into forest understory, it really only looks good in the spring. This is because some of our other lawn "weeds" (trillium, wild ginger, blue bells, Solomon's seal) are not apparent because they are spring ephemerals. So tip number one is do not mow too often certainly no more than once a month. Tip number two is do not obsess about grass even if it is a minor component of lawn. Tip number three: buy a lawn mower capable to dealing with bits of bark, twigs as big as your fingers, and a smattering of leaves. This is part of having an ecological lawn. You know you're dealing with an obsessive when they speak of mowing the "grass" as if in some suburban universe a monoculture of grass is a desirable thing. As this blog is being written a neat, undulating sward of green spreads before the perennial gardens beyond. At this distance no one can identify the plants composing the green: neat, green, aesthetically pleasing, so what more is needed? Ah, just one thing, affirmation from an expert! And now you have it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You could call it a pied lawn (with a nod to G M Hopkins).