The Battle With My Lawn

My Lawn

My Lawn

There are a lot of lawn haters out there.  I am not one of them.  I love walking on grass in my bare feet and I love having a place where the kids and dogs can play.  I love my lawn.  As much as I like it, though, I can’t escape its problems — and I’m not talking about weeds.  Except for thistle, I like those too.

I have three main issues with my lawn:

1) There used to be a gravel driveway running through part of it.  Actually, the gravel is still there.  It was just covered in compost and seeded over with a local blend of grass seed.  Progress is being made, but the grass in that area is still sparse and scraggly.

Solution: Every time I bring a load of manure home, I dump it in this section.  When the pile is depleted, I even out the remnants with a rake and overseed the entire area.  It is slow progress, but it is still progress, and at some point I should be able to dump the manure somewhere other than the middle of my yard.

2) The vast majority of my lawn is under water October through May.  The Pacific Northwest is known for its rain, and Raymond gets more than its fair share.  I acknowledge that fact, but I still want my lawn to have better drainage.  The flooding does not hurt the grass (In fact, the worst spots have the lushest growth) but it does impede my enjoyment and use of the lawn.

Solution: Aerate the lawn.  Once again, it is not a quick fix, but aeration will improve the drainage.  Unfortunately, for aeration to work, the lawn must be thoroughly soaked, and when we are not having constant rainfall, we are usually in the middle of a drought.  The last couple of years, I have tried to wait to aerate the lawn until the rains started, but then they didn’t stop until spring.  This year, however, I am setting out the sprinkler.  A few days of deep watering should do the trick, especially if I start aerating immediately after the last watering.

3) We have moss.  Let me rephrase that.  We have a lot of moss — another byproduct of the rainy months.  Normally I don’t midn it.  at least it is green, and it does not need to be mowed.  When the lawn feels spongy, however, something needs to be dont.  We have that kind of moss.

Solution: Thatching — preferably before aerating and reseeding.  This is easier said than done, however.  First, I tried the old-fashioned method: a rake.  I only succeeded in throwing out my back and making several trips to the chiropractor.  Next, I tried my neighbor’s thatcher.  that worked wonderfully, but it was cumbersome.  Plus, it might not always be available and I did not want to shell out that kind of money.  Then I saw a new gadget: an Arnold Power Rake .  Basically, this is just an attachment for the lawn mower.  My husband and I were skeptical, but it was only $20, so we decided to try it.

Today I experimented with it for the first time — in the worst section of the lawn, just in case.  It worked wonderfully.  The rubber nubbins on the blade may end up wearing down far more quickly than on an actual thatcher, but for $20 I can replace it when needed.  And it fits on a shelf instead of needing a shed when not in use.

It will be several years before these problems are corrected, but as long as progress is made each year — and I avoid emergency trips to my chiropractor — I am happy.

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