The Un-Lawn War

No Lawn work


My friends and family know I have no love loss for lawn work. I have written on the subject of “Lawn Wars” once before but have not been able to locate it. Given the level of frustration I experience at this unavoidable part of home ownership, I’m sure this wont be the last thought on the subject.

“The Un-Lawn War”

Isn’t it bizarre how even during a time of drought, grass and weeds will never grow in places where you don’t care but they will most assuredly thrive in places you don’t want them…water or no.

My case in point, I am not and most likely never will be the kind of person who enjoys lawn work. I know people who lavish the kind of time and effort on a lawn that I would on washing and waxing my car. To each his or her own, but I don’t see that anywhere on my horizon. My feelings on lawn work aside, the fact remains it is a part of home ownership that will never go away.

My house has never had a lush and full lawn and many times I do thank my Heavens above for that. I have gone summers and cut grass once a month which I will never argue about. I was told this was mostly due to the many oak trees on my property that are thirsty monsters that rob the grass of its fluid supply.

While I have always counted it as a blessing that we get very little snow here in Virginia, having a bevy of oaks can be even worse. You see every fall the mighty oaks blanket the surrounding countryside with the shedding of their leaves, and unlike snowfall they don’t melt away. They indiscriminately cover houses, fill gutters to overflowing and provide mosquitoes with much needed ground cover. All in all a joy to have around.

The next logical step of course was to remove some of the aforementioned leaf suppliers and limb up the survivors to stem their quasi-snowfall abilities. Little did I know what manner of wrath I was letting loose on myself. Without the resident thirsty oak trees the gravel driveway has now become a hotbed of activity for dandelions and crabgrass.

I often wonder how the name “dandelion” was coined for this pitiful excuse for a flower, especially since there is little that is dandy about it.

While the grass and weeds in my so called yard continue to hold on for dear life, the gravel drive is spawning new sprouts at an exponential rate. I cannot begin to understand how rocks can provide all the necessary requirements that soil seems to fall short of a few scant feet away.

I first tried weed and grass killer, which turned the foliage brown for short while but they son gathered themselves and continued reproduction. I then took the suggestion of a co-worker and took the direct assault of burning the grass away. A propane torch with a three foot wand provided the heat source and I scorched the driveway clear in a matter of hours.

I was initially pleased with the results although I was astonished at the amount of direct flame contact it took to incinerate a dandelion.

If I knew my science better I could tell you with confidence that an open,orange colored flame is oh, 1200 F degrees and that the next firesuit material for Indy 500 drivers should be made from dandelion leaves. Modern firesuits are supposed to protect drivers from open flames for 10-12 seconds before injury may result. I can tell you with all confidence that dandelions take far longer to burn and blow away under direct flame contact.

Some sage oriental wise man may have once said “The secret to immortal life is contained in single blade of grass”…All this time we thought he was making an analogy when he was in fact eternally frustrated over weeding his flower garden and bonsai trees.

I then resorted to serious chemical warfare as I doused the driveway with three gallons of total vegetation killer. At almost $20 a gallon this stuff shames gasoline on price alone so one would hope its lethal ability would be on par as well. Once again the result has been brown foliage which I have now been in the process of burning away. One would think something brown colored and supposedly dead would burn swiftly like good firewood…oh that it should be so easy. I have heated sections of the gravel so hot that small pebbles have been jumping like popcorn kernels…and yet springs of crabgrass still remain staunch.

I have come to now believe that chemical weapons like napalm and agent orange were not created by evil and diabolical men. It now seems for more likely that frustrated lawn and garden types were drafted into the armed forces and with such great resources at hand they finally devised a way to prevail over this most resilient of adversaries.

I wonder if I might be able to locate an Army surplus napalm flame thrower?…I have been considering demolishing my shed in the driveway…might be a “two birds with one torch” kind of project.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and marvel at the wonders of life and trials right in your own back yard.

T. August Green


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