Monday, August 27, 2012

The Scourge of Spurge

It's been a while since I last posted because I've been battling the above--spurge. You see, two years ago, we had a nasty winter storm that hit the Old Town with three days of bone-chilling, well-below-freezing temperatures. Desert plants can survive a few hours of this, maybe even one really cold night, but not three days of nonstop frigid air. So that spring, a lot of plants and trees died. Even a year later, last summer, the local verdure hadn't come back. It was sad, seeing the wilting cacti and dying trees all over town.

I was amazed, nay, stunned, that the freeze managed to kill my Bermuda grass. Bermuda grass is known for its indestructibility. It can survive droughts, it can survive floods. Apparently it cannot survive several days of freezing temperatures, so last summer, my backyard grass was pretty thin; it never came in with its usual lushness and growing-so-fast-I-need-to-mow-twice-a-week-ness. Read, large expanses of dirt, just dirt. Dirt that was tracked in the house by two very large and furry dogs. I hate that.

So this spring, I got out my thatcher, scored the ground, laid grass seed, even spread fertilizer. While manure works great, a certain big white fuzzy dog (BWFD) likes to eat it. Uumm, yummy! BWFD does not care that manure gives him dairrhea. It tastes good! Big-haired human (BHH), however, does care.

Well, after all that careful gardening, the whole southeastern portion of my backyard remained a dirt oasis. I watered it. I spread more seed. Then, a little sprout, and another. My grass was back! I was happy. I encouraged it. I nurtured it. I sent it good growing vibes.  

Then Old Town received over two inches of rain last week. Great for the aquifer, not so much for my lawn. Because instead of lush Bermuda grass so thick you could sink your happy toes in it, I got spurge. Nasty, dense, instantly spreading overnight spurge. The spurge that takes over the world. It forms a thick mat that is impossible to mow, because it's so low, so you have to hand pick it out. By hand. See that valiant little Bermuda grass spike trying to fight its way through the cloying spurge in the second photo? Grow, little grass, grow! 

I hate spurge.

1 comment:

  1. We have been battling our own lawn crisis here in NJ...
    Darling hubby (DH) is very proud of said lawn, and has been for many, many years. That lush green oasis of grass has been the recipient of many neighborhood compliments.
    Until a couple of years ago we started growing the creeping crud. A surface grass, green, yes, but the roots are brown and when you mow or rake, the entire plant comes up in patches. So our lawn was looking particularly NOT the neighborhood star.
    It took two years to find out what it was: creeping fescue -- it turned our lawn into a mat of grass that is all interconnected at the roots. It took over entire portions of our lawn, and while green in the summer (although not as pretty as nice green, single blade grass), it dies and turns brown in the winter/spring. Impossible to get rid of, too; when we figured out what it was, Chem Lawn suggested vegetation kill. But we didn't want to kill our lawn.
    And guess what - DH did it to himself when he used Scott's seed two years ago. NEVER will we use Scott's again! He's now pulling it all up in large patches, large enough that it's half our front lawn! We're using straight Pennington Kentucky Bluegrass now.