Minimalist Lawn Care
When it comes to our beds and borders, I am a helicopter gardener – constantly hovering, intervening, helping (or interfering, depending on your point of view) and worrying.
On the other hand, about 99% of the time I ignore the lawn. Because let’s face it, lawns are boring.
I do mow it every week in season, but I don’t water or fertilize it. I welcome Violets (Viola) and White Clover (Trifolium repens), most anything that is green and can be walked upon. The only weeds I really hate are Plantain (Plantago major) and Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea).
Every once in a while, though, I am stirred into action. It’s sort of like a neglectful parent who suddenly shows up with expensive toys to make up for a long absence.
About once or twice a year I might throw myself on the ground in order to engage in a frenzy of pulling Plantain and, if I am feeling unusually intolerant, Dandelion (Taraxacum).
And twice, in a fit of Creeping Charlie Madness, I sprayed parts of the lawn with Weed B Gone. Charlie can cause stronger men than I to weep and/or reach for the applicator. The thing is, it grows so fast and it gets into EVERYTHING.
The last time I did this was three years ago. The herbicide slowed Charlie down, but not for very long.
Eventually I decided that I didn’t want to contribute even modestly to the toxic cocktail being spread and sprayed upon the suburban landscape. The benefits of application once a year were limited, and I didn’t want to do it more often.
Instead, I listened to some sage advice and started spreading a thin layer of compost over the lawn every fall. And that’s what I was doing last Sunday, after the November snow had melted and I was able to get the fallen leaves out of the way.
The theory is that healthier soil will promote grass that is better able to compete with objectionable weeds, some of which actually prefer poor, compacted soil.
The compost looks kind of messy, but it won’t be noticeable by the time the grass starts growing again next spring. In the meantime, you do have to be careful about tracking the stuff into the house, which is why I leave compost-free paths for walking.
This is a long-term approach, so patience is required. It could be my imagination, but it does seem to be yielding some results even now. In the meantime, if I get impatient I can always throw myself down for another frenzy of weed pulling, just to show I care.
Do you practice minimalist lawn care?