Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Grass Project

Spring is here! it is officially noted, and even printed on the calendar. It’s exuberant presence is on display everywhere.

Our lone Royal Anne cherry, three Asian pear and four ornamental fruit trees are in full riotous bloom, several weeks ahead of schedule. 

I rescued a huge bundle of trimmed cherry branches to enjoy a fresh Spring bouquet inside the house, but I can't force myself to cut anything else blooming in the yard. Spring flowers belong outdoors (besides, daffodils and the like make me sneezy and teary-eyed).

A neighboring Saucer Magnolia is covered with pink blossoms, each massive flower the size of a large nosegay. Today it presents an amazing seasonal display outside the second-story window in my office, and it offers some functional summer shade later in the year.

Our neon yellow daffodils have begun to fade just as the shockingly bright tulips are opening. Vivid waves of squill and ranunculas light up the flower beds, self-seeding and spreading in random patterns.  Rhododendrons flaunt a heavy sprinkling of buds that are just beginning to open, showing traces of pale pinks and deep purples, a preview of things to come. The weeds and mosses are thriving too.

…and then there’s the lawn. Sigh. It is old and has not aged well, worn out in its battle against critters, invasive weeds and enthusiastic mosses. At one time it was vigorous and putting-green smooth, but lately it has developed wrinkles of yellowing mounds and boggy dips (thank you earthquakes, burrowing mountain beavers, and assorted other challenges). Even the new Spring growth looks tired, a bit ragged and sparse, fighting a losing battle against the massed enemies.

Solution? Out with the old and in with a newly-seeded lawn. While we work to keep the grass seed moist, I will also be working on my patience . I can’t wait to see the first hint of green shoots. C’mon Spring, work your magic on my wannabe lawn!

The Grass Project (my version)

Step 1. Strip off the old sod and cart it away.
Step 2. Lower the humps and fill in the hollows. 

Step 3. Bring in some topsoil, grade for drainage, compact it and level it all out.

Step 4. Apply grass seed and the appropriate fertilizer, lime, and whatever else it takes to encourage a sturdy, luxurious growth and discourage cutworms, moss, etc.

Step 5. Water lightly and frequently until green shoots appear and healthy roots  develop.

Now stay tuned for upcoming Green Grass reports.

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