It’s All About the Grass


I knew we could make this an “All Spoiler week” if we tried.

Last week–just exactly a week ago–we had a soil scientist from the lawn care company that mistakenly trespassed on our property, poisoned my  vegetable garden and “treated” some of my perennial and shrubs with broad leaf weed killer come out, allegedly  to take “soil samples and tissue cultures” from the affected plants and areas.

Perhaps they got nervous when I started saying words to them like “trespass” and “irreplaceable” plants. Nevertheless, I permitted them to come.

When I told the Spoiler they were coming, he said, “Oh good. There are some brown areas in the grass I want them to look at too.”

“Some brown areas in the grass.” Long time readers of this blog know that we don’t irrigate our lawn. It was August 25 when they came–a very dry August, I might add.


Nevertheless, it is undeniable that they did spray a lot of this broad-leaf weed killer all over the lawn. So I simply said, “that’s fine, honey. You just be here so you can show them where.”

I have to keep the Spoiler happy, after all.

A Cautionary Tale About Weed Killers

I’ll be the first to tell you–I have no idea what particular weed killers were used here.  And I don’t know if the bed was sprayed once or twice, but I know it was sprayed once at least because this bed has had an ongoing problem with horsetail, nutsedge and other very persistent weeds.  I saw a layer of pesticide-killed–not hand pulled– weeds before the mulch was put down.

Despite the mulching, in fact, there are new shoots of nutsedge poking through–after only 8 days.  That’s how persistent nutsedge is, sadly, and how ineffective  weed killers can be on what you’re trying to kill.

This homeowner, one of my neighbors, uses a landscaper that doesn’t even have a name on his truck, never mind a license number.  For all I know, he’s a son of theirs.  He comes by once  a week, usually on a Thursday, and rolls a mower out of a pickup and mows and “weed whacks” around the beds.

Three weeks ago I noticed all the weeds in the bed were killed off.  10 days ago I noticed the new mulch.  And now this–a dead rose.  You can bet it’s not a coincidence.

One of 3 things happened:

  • pesticide drift got onto the rose;
  • the pesticides applied were inappropriate for use in a mixed planting and that’s what killed the rose (for example, a nutsedge killer shouldn’t be used in landscape beds); or
  • the application rates of the pesticide chosen were inappropriate and that killed the plant.

In any case, whenever using pesticides, particularly ones that are labeled for lawn weeds like nutsedge or ones that are labeled for “season long” control, please read and follow all label instructions.  Plant loss is really only the beginning of issues that you can have.

Crabgrass Control?

I walk a dog at least twice a day, sometimes three times a day.  That gives me a lot time to contemplate grass.

I’ll be the first to tell you that our lawn isn’t perfect.  Anyone trying to do organic lawn care won’t have a perfect lawn.  Anyone trying to grow grass in the shade won’t have a perfect lawn.  And anyone who doesn’t irrigate in the summer certainly won’t have a perfect lawn right now.  That’s just fine with me.

What I don’t get is why, particularly since we live in a neighborhood that is on rock ledge that slopes to a body of water where folks swim, my neighbors seem inclined to treat crabgrass with liquid chemicals. (Actually, I can’t understand why my neighbors are inclined to treat their lawns with any sort of chemicals at any time, but I digress.)

This is the result.

This neighbor uses TruGreen as a lawn service.  I’m not sure I’d pay for that result, but that’s just me.  If I’m going to have crabgrass, I’d much prefer it to be green rather than purple.

And then here’s my next door neighbor’s attempt.  He’s obviously a little more heavy handed because he doesn’t have to comply with those “silly little laws.”

Lovely, isn’t it?  Clearly, the chemical, whatever they’re using isn’t working to kill all the crabgrass.  It’s just making it stand out and be more prominent in the landscape.  Why not leave the stuff alone and let it be green at least?  Or if is really bothers you, pull it or hire someone to do it.

But these liquid crabgrass killers are not a solution and never will be.  Please don’t poison the earth and our drinking water with them.  They don’t work, and applying more of them isn’t the answer.