Suburbanite Lawn Care
Consider what your lawn maintenance may look like from above
Round Rock Leader
Saturday, July 24, 2004
By Emsud Horozovic, City of Round Rock Forestry Manager
In a rush of preparing to voyage to my motherland Bosnia next week I was thinking what to write about and then remembered very funny story that I ran across few years back and would love to share it with you with hope that you would enjoy good laughter. I am not trying to get Dave Hamby out of funny columnist job nor pretending that I knew a whole lot about turf. I do love to laugh at our expense of trying to manage the nature. So below is the storyâ€¦..
During the summer the garden, and trees, begin to slow down due to our hot Texas sun and lack of rain. An article from the July/August 2000 issue of City Trees written by an unknown author presents a conversation between God and St. Francis on the goofy behavior of us suburbanitesâ€”and city dwellers, tooâ€”in terms of lawn and tree care. Grab an ice tea and read on!
One heavenly spring morning, God got into a conversation with St. Francis about lawns and trees. The conversation went something like this...
GOD: St. Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in the USA? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle, and the other stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. I created plants that grow in any type of soil, withstand drought, and multiply like crazy. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see down there is a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.
ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers weeds, and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it, and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing their grass, and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.
ST. FRANCIS: Lord, I'm afraid not. As soon as the grass grows a little, they cut it, sometimes twice a week.
GOD: They cut it?! Do they then bale it like hay?
ST. FRANCIS: Well, not exactly Lord. Most "Suburbanites" rake it up and put it in bags.
GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. FRANCIS: No, sir -- just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
GOD: Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. FRANCIS: Yes, sir.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: Lord, you're not going to believe this. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses, and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.
ST. FRANCIS: You'd better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into huge piles, and pay to have them hauled away, too.
GOD: No way!! What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?
ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
GOD: And where do they get this mulch?
ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
GOD: Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
ST. CATHERINE: Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It's a real stupid movie about........
GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.
- Leaving your grass clippings on the lawn
- Leaving the grass two inches tall in the spring, and three inches tall in the summer. Youâ€™ll mow a little less often.
- Watering deeply once a week or during your assigned day on the five day cycleâ€”some of the local TV stations suggest the amount to water on your watering day.
- Upgrading your irrigation systems with rain measuring devices, to avoid watering after 2 inches of rain has been received, for example.
- Starting a compost pile with some of the grass clippings
- Xeriscaping and using ground covers that demand less water such as bermuda grass, buffalo grass, ivys, Asiatic jasmine, etc. Of course, you could plant bluebonnets, and then have a great excuse not to mow until Juneâ€”your neighbors might not like it, though.
- Grinding fall tree leaves and placing them under the bushes or in the garden or adding them to the compost pileâ€”free fertilizer!
With the time you save by mowing and watering, go watch a videoâ€”Dumb and Dumber does sound pretty good, afterall! You all have a great summer. I will write in August about watering â€˜cause this Texas monsoon season will eventually stop. Off to Bosnia â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦
Forestry Manager Emsud Horozovic