Posts Tagged ‘planting grass’

The Grass Truly is Greener

October 4, 2013

Eight long years ago, we moved into our new house.  It was our very first new house …. surrounded by dirt.  Visions of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon combined with Busch Gardens and watered with the fountains from in front of the Bellagio in Vegas lead me to believe that things would grow in Phoenix. My green thumb and my gardening magazines had me waltzing barefoot over lush verdant lawn surrounded (in my mind) by vivid pink flowers in royal blue pots with hanging vines of happy sun-yellow blooms covering our block walls. Eight long years later, I have discovered the error of my ways.


We planted Bob-Sod (grass), which was the wonder of the ages at that time.  Little did we know that it would look fabulously lush and green for four or five years and then haunt us for the remaining years in the house.  Seems that Bob-Sod is a combo deal with two types of grass… one that grows up and one that grows sideways and chokes out all other plant life in the vicinity.  Unbelievable!

Also in Phoenix, the Bob-Sod is our summer grass.  It “dies” or goes dormant for the chilly winter.  So we have to plant rye grass if we want a green backyard during the season when it is actually cool enough to enjoy the backyard.  This was all well and good for four or five years.  Then the Bob-Sod roots got so thick that throwing down rye grass was no longer effective.  Well, no longer effective for growing winter grass.  VERY effective for feeding the 572 million pigeons who moved down here for the winter.

With the root problem evident, a few years back we aerated the lawn.  By foot.  That is really close to by hand.  We used the age old aerating tool that looks like a shovel but replacing the blade were two metal tubes that poked dainty hole in the lawn, presumably allowing the rye grass to grow.  This was true.  Sadly.  Everywhere where there was a hole from the aerating tool, the rye grass grew.  But that was the only place it grew.  The “designated grass area” looked like a bald man who just got bad plugs.

Once again, winter is upon us.  We decided to kill off the Bob-Sod by not watering it for the last two months.  I like to tell people we are going for the foreclosed look in the backyard.  I don’t think the Bob-Sod died at all.  Tonight my husband used a de-thatching blade on the lawn mower to break up the roots and prepare the soil for rye grass.  It was comical and I was prepared to remember this day for all eternity with a photograph of him wearing a white mask over his mouth and nose that was scotch taped to his face, but no.  A de-thatching blade on dirt simply makes HUGE dirt clouds.  Dirt clouds that you can’t even see through. Nor take pictures through.  When the dust settled (on everything in the backyard… and our neighbors’ backyards) I went out with the hose and feebly tried to clean things off.

So tomorrow just might be the day the rye seed goes down, followed by manure and sand, followed by the creative devices I will concoct to scare away the 572 million pigeons.  I used to use the baby swing, but I don’t have one anymore.  (HEY!  Tomorrow is 50% off day at Goodwill!  Baby SwingS, here I come!)

A Plug for Grass

November 12, 2010

The phone rang in our kitchen, before the days of caller ID, and I answered unaware that I was in for the laugh of my life!  The kind lady simply asked for Rick, my husband.  I said he was unavailable and asked if she would like to leave a message.  “Yes,” she replied, “Terri from HCB… our number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.”  I jotted it down and inquired, “What does HCB stand for?”  “Hair Club for Men,” she answered.  Without any forethought or self-control, I burst out laughing…. you know, the laugh from deep down within your belly that brings tears to your eyes because you’ve just heard something so incredibly funny!  After I calmed down she asked, “Is Rick going to get this message?”  I spit out, “Oh, you bet he is!!!” 

A bit of background:  my husband’s hair has receded since I met him when he was an 18-year-old whipper snapper.  But it is still generally in place, and black and reasonably thick.  But he worked with a man once upon a time that we kindly referred to as RugMan… who, obviously, wore a toupee.  I think that guy talked Rick into thinking he would need one some day.  (Over my dead body.)  I’m not sure how the HCB got Rick’s name and number but I found it hilarious! 

We also had a chiropractor at one time that decided to get hair replacement therapy, more commonly known as plugs.  His hair actually looked a lot fuller and natural…. except for his scalp where the plug line started…. it looked like a curb with the plugs on top.  I could not look the man in the face for fear that my eyes would wander north to the curb.  We eventually found a new chiropractor.

All that to say, these stories were fresh in my mind this week as our grass came in.  In Phoenix, we have to plant the winter grass each year in October/November if we want a sea of green out the back door.  The summer grass is quite hardy and comes back each year.  We have never successfully planted winter grass… and this was our 13th unsuccessful year.  Last year I spread the seed and it came up looking like I walked out with the seed bag and tripped, spilling all the seed in one spot.  I didn’t, but couldn’t prove other wise.  After much discussion this year, we decided that we needed to aerate the lawn bed to promote drainage and even growth.  So we did.  But the outcome reminded me of a lawn that went to Hair Club for Men.  Look:

The entire lawn came up…. ONLY in the aerated holes.  This looks nearly as bad as my tripping, spilling, planting year.  Rick is determined to get green grass in an even, flat formation.  He went out again and did more aerating.  He spread more seed.  He adjusted sprinklers.  He watered by hand.  I think we’re simply in for the year of the plug grass.