In the past week or two, we’ve suffered an outdoor calamity I’ve now dubbed …yardaggeddon 2012.
This – below – is what our yard looked like just a few weeks ago.
And THIS is what our yard – the very same patch of earth – looks like today.
All that lovely green grass in the top photo is totally gone, replaced by a yard that’s not much more than a giant patch of mud with some dead weeds poking up here and there.
You should know that I’m the furthest thing from a lawn snob. I’d never even noticed what our grass looks like … Until there suddenly wasn’t any grass, and our small city lot began resembling the trampled-to-bits, muddy, grass-less Bonnaroo festival grounds right after all 90,000 music fans have departed for the year.
How did this happen? Well, it was a convergence of elements that turned our yard into a mud-wrestling arena.
First, Jon decided a few weeks ago that he wanted to get rid of some weeds in our lawn. I was unaware of his concern about weeds, but in any event, he popped over to the local garden center one Saturday morning and explained to the expert lawn guy there that he had these weed issues, and the man convinced Jon to purchase a product that you sprinkle all over your lawn to both kill weeds and grow more grass. At the same time.
Now, as you can see from the photo at the top of this blog post, we didn’t really need any more grass, and in hindsight, Jon says the weed issue wasn’t an issue at all. And he also now realizes that the concept of both killing plants and growing them with the same product in the same patch of lawn doesn’t seem, well, remotely possible, but it sounded good at the time, so he bit on the sales pitch, and bought the killer/grower stuff. He then brought it home, where he proceeded to sprinkle it over most of our small yard, as directed on the plastic package.
The next day I noticed small white beads lying in our tiny but lush green yard. I asked Jon if he knew what they were, and that’s when he filled me in on the magical weed killing lawn grower stuff. I asked him whether it was safe for kids and dogs to walk on, and he said the package had assured that it was, so I didn’t give it another thought.
Right about that time, a terrible heat wave hit, and as best I can figure, something about the combo of the broiling 105 degree heat beating down on those little chemical beads littering our yard was NOT GOOD. I think the heat must have activated the stuff’s inner monster, sort of like when people turn into werewolves under a full moon.
As soon as the heat started, and the sun beat down, the grass in our yard started dying quite dramatically. All of it. We’ve had many heat waves and droughts before, and the grass in our yard has never turned into ugly brown straw overnight like it did this time. We went from green to totally dead lawn – all of it – within days. I began to suspect that the garden center dude had actually sold Jon napalm or something.
We tried watering it, but that just washed the now utterly dead grass right off dirt beneath, creating slippery mud. It was unbelievable how fast this all happened.
Jon apologized profusely for having put the miracle weed killing lawn grower stuff down in the first place, and we both unhappily agreed that there was nothing we could do until the heat broke. Until then, we decided not to water the lawn AT ALL because dead brown grass was better than a giant mudhole with NO grass right outside our front door.
And then the rain started.
First came five straight days of non-stop drizzle – a total anomaly in Tennessee in July – and that’s been followed by day after night after day of powerful thunderstorms. Last night, for example, I’m told we got nearly two inches of rain from the storms that blew through.
And that’s all she wrote for our poor little yard. The rain washed all the dead grass off the dirt beneath as completely as if someone had used a snowscraper to do it. With every new rainfall, more mud appeared until it looked like we were raising giant, angry hogs in the yard instead of small humans.
The rain stopped long enough last weekend that Jon and I began desperately trying to replace the missing grass. We aerated with a manual thing that pokes hole in the dirt, and then we spread three kinds of “quick grow” grass seed as directed, and we laid down this straw matting stuff over the sloped part of the yard, to try to keep the seed from washing away when the rain started back up.
This is the roll-out straw matting we laid down over part of the yard after we aerated and put the grass seed down. It’s supposed to biodegrade at the same rate the new grass grows.
These plasticky looking spikes went in the ground to hold the mat in place, but they’re actually made of cornmeal or ground up fairy wings or something, meaning they also biodegrade right in the ground where you stick ’em.
It’s now been about five days since Operation Yardageddon Repair began, and so far….. NADA. I do not see ONE BLADE of baby grass peeping up thru the mudhole that our yard has become.
However, we do seem to have one or two new weeds of some kind popping up thru the brown sludge.