Friday, March 18, 2011

Grass, or Weed?

Bermuda Grass From
First of all, sorry, I'm not talking about drugs. We're talkin Cynodon dactylon, baby. Otherwise known in Georgia as Bermuda grass, lawn choice of suburban home owners everywhere.

One of the blessings of home ownership, in Georgia, is trying to grow a lawn that was never meant to be there in the first place.

Someone decided a few choice varieties of grass would be "grass" and all other varieties of grass and other plants would be "weeds". The homeowner, therefore, is responsible to make one particular kind of grass grow, and no other, or her neighbors will be mad at her. If you don't fight the "weeds" with deadly chemicals, they will downright kill your "grass" and then you'll have to re-sod. Speaking from experience. We haven't yet tried the deadly chemicals, but we're tempted. What we have used is natural pre-emergent and hand-weeding. Even in our small yard, that takes a lot of time and feels like a losing battle on the shaded side of the house, where the bermuda isn't as hardy as the weeds. That's where we had to re-sod last year.

The main problem is that the Southern Outer Piedmont region of Georgia is meant to be pine forest, or at least that's what the parts of it are that haven't been made into strip malls or subdivisions yet. What grows on pine forest floor? Not Bermuda grass, that's for sure. Not fescue or zoysia, either, I don't believe. I haven't done much research, but I think mostly nothing but ferns, moss, low scrubby bushes. The soil is clayey and acidic from the pine needles that blanket the ground. There's nothing wrong with this--unless you want a suburban yard of course.

It would take me a whole other post to explain why we won't just re-landscape our yard into native shade-tolerant and xerophilic plants. Suffice it to say I'd rather either live in the country where I can just let the land grow naturally, or live in the city where I can enjoy public parks and community gardens without having to fight mother nature for a "lawn."

That is, unless we land in a part of the world that likes to grow grass...

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