Sunday, June 2, 2013


Yesterday when I said that today the Real Work on the front yard would begin, did you think I meant I'd tackle pulling up the rest of the old dead sod in the new planting bed?

Bwahahahaahhahahahhhh!!!!   (She laughs maniacally.)

Unfortunately, no.  Sadly, tragically, painfully, no.

You see, my front yard has-- it shames me to say it-- nutsedge.  Also known as nutgrass, it is a curse and a scourge and this afternoon was devoted to beginning the process of eradicating it.

Which, I admit, is not the full process some authorities say can and must be completed.  The authorities, many of the ones I read online, at least, say that to eliminate nutsedge you must dig out at least 18 inches of soil and dispose of it.  And not in the borough yard waste dump, either, where it will get ground up and mixed in with the free mulch and spread, spread, spread.  No, burn it, nuke it, bury the ashes twenty feet deep somewhere in the Sahara, send hem to Mars.  Because, according to the authorities, if you don't, the nutsedge will take over your whole lawn, and maybe the whole world!


See all the pretty yellow-green grass?  Well, it isn't.
In the new planting bed.  Not good at all,
But do I lstrike you as the kind of person who can accomplish that much digging before she reaches retirement age?  Good grief, what am I supposed to do, rent a blinking backhoe?  And where am I supposed to put all that waste dirt, and how the heck am I supposed to put it there?

So I'm fighting this war much the way the UN does its "conflicts"-- with just enough effort to keep the enemy at bay, in the hope that if I'm persistent enough it'll get bored and give up trying to take over my whole lawn.  This means I only dug down four or five inches, or as far as I could see the nuts, which are about a half an inch long.  Yes, yes, I realize there have to be a lot more nutlets that go way deeper than that, microscopic ones hiding away and waiting to mature and send up more shoots.  But I already have seven or eight 45 gallon bags of sedge and dirt to convince the trash haulers to carry away to the landfill without charging me extra, and those were filled to the point where I could barely lift them.  I have to fight a constant war of attrition here.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed and following the plan of a minority of online anti-nutsedge warriors.  That is, get the worst of it while the shoots are short and young like mine are, accept that they'll send up new shoots two or three times more, dig those out in their turn, and let them wear themselves out.

Dug out, to some degree

 I noticed that the worst of the nut infestation is centered in the thatch.  Oh, yeah, thatch.  My front lawn has about two and a half inches of it. No wonder it's brown.  I probably need to buy a thatch rake and grub it all up.  I mean, I know I have to grub it all up, and I may have to break down and buy a thatch rake to do it.  I also am forced to notice that some of the nutsedge is growing up through the still-healthy grass.  I gather that chemical warfare is the best way to tackle that, with a selective herbicide.

I'll see what we have available for sale at work.

Here's what the nuts look like

More dug out
It's my own damn fault the nutsedge is there.  Last summer, when the grass got fertilizer-burned, I noticed two or three sprigs of it, but did nothing about it.  I'd had it in the yard before, but the density of the lawn grass had always crowded it out.  But now with all the bare patches, there's nothing to stop it.  And as I've been down on my knees putting in the new brick edge, I've been forced to notice that all those little bright yellow-green plantlets are not fresh bluegrass, but the delightful sedge.

The good thing (if anything can be said to be good about this) is that the thatch comes up very easily with with my steel garden trowel.  And that the stuff doesn't grow as well in dry weather, which we've had for over a week.  The bad thing is that as disgusting as it is to have nutsedge in the grass, it'd be worse if the infestation took over the new landscape bed.  Grass you can subject to total war with Round-Up or whatever and just start over.  Shrubs and perennials aren't so easily sacrificed.  You don't want to have to destroy the village in order to save it.


Mayfair Mistress said...

Well, if you're down towards me at any point you're welcome to borrow my thatch rake (and some bricks if you're short, although you can keep those). My back aches for you . . .

Kate H. said...

Thanks. I picked up a used one up here last Thursday, which I may report on in yet another retrospective post. LOL

dynochick (Jan) said...

I have a few areas of that stuff and it is impossible. I've tried Round Up and it killed maybe half of it and weakened the other half but if you ignore it for even a week it is back to full strength and spreading like there is no tomorrow.

Why is it that we try to grow what we can't and don't want to grow what wants to grow?

Just about the time I get rid of it, it will become fashionable to have a lawn full of nut sedge.

Sharon @ Laurelhurst Craftsman said...

We once had a house where mint had totally taken over the garden and was starting in on taking over the lawn. We waged war for a couple years, but it kept coming back from tiny pieces left in the dirt. In the end, we moved, not entirely for other reasons. =)

Best of luck in your battle. May it go better than ours did.