Saturday, April 22, 2006

Lawn Envy

Spring time brings out some interesting behavior.

We live in a suburban neighborhood, and one of the spring time rituals is the first mowing of the lawn. Each year, the men in the neighborhood seem to compete to see who can be the first to mow their lawn. This year I think someone got the prize by mowing their lawn in mid-March.

Lawn-care seems to be contagious, too. On an otherwise relaxing weekend, all it takes is one person to mow their lawn, and before you know it everyone else is out mowing their lawn, too. I'm not sure if they think their lawn looks bad now that someone else's is mown, or what, but it's a definite phenomenon.

We tend to take the minimalist approach to lawn mowing. We mow the first time each year after all the flowers scattered through the yard have died. That's usually in mid-May. We then mow once a month, whether it needs it or not, until the last mowing, probably in October.

We've found the trick to taking this approach is to not fertilize the grass, and to learn to enjoy all the other sorts of ground cover that will grow when you don't use chemicals on your lawn. We have the loveliest clover through part of our front yard, and some sort of other leafy ground cover in the backyard. Our grass grows pretty slowly, whether due to the lack of fertilizer, or all the other ground cover taking up nutrients, I'm not sure.

A side-effect of all this non-grass ground cover is that we get fewer dandelions in our yard than our neighbors do. Which is a shame, because we like dandelions.


Anonymous said...

We have the same approach to lawns at our house. And we have lovely violets and dandelions galore in the backyard!


Jay said...

Oh, yes, the violets! I keep hoping that ours will completely cover our back yard.