Monday, May 4, 2009

To Mow or Not to Mow

That is the question.

The plan was to keep a relatively small area around the house mowed short -- I wouldn't go so far as to call it a lawn -- and to let the grasses and wild flowers have large sections left tall at the edges.

I want to use as little chemical control as possible. Plus, one of the things I loved at first sight here was the tall grass, golden rod, and milkweeds full of butterflies and bees. Hubby ... well, hubby just doesn't want to spend his weekends cutting grass.

Thing is, we have a fearsome crop of dandelions. I was pretty excited about that at first, entertaining visions of home-bottled dandelion wine. Realistically speaking, though, that is never going to happen.

Which leaves us with a decision to make. Left alone, these guys will soon form a solid blanket in both the short and tall sections. But I really, really don't want to dump broad leaf weedkiller all over the place. I'm finding so many native species here, and I'd hate to kill them off.

Any ideas?


sallyacious said...

I'm struggling with the same thing here. Partly because my husband thinks I don't know anything about anything when it comes to lawns and refuses to tell the lawn service people to follow some basic rules of lawn care.

Mow high. So set your mower to 3 or 4 inches. The grass will be happier and the weeds will be choked out by the shade.

Fertilize. Dandelions are supposed to be a poor soil plant, so if your soil is healthy, they aren't as likely to grow. (Personally, I think they don't much care. They seem to grow just fine in healthy soils.)

There are some corn-based products that you can spread on your lawn that are supposed to prevent germination. So even if the dandelions do grow, their seeds shouldn't take root. Again, I'm having trouble with this one. I've never seen these things work.

Live with them. Or dig them up and plant something you can live with. Some kind of ground cover that's easier to deal with than grass, doesn't require mowing, likes your climate, and is too dense for the dandelions to poke their fluffy white heads through.

MyMaracas said...

Thanks, Sally! Once again, you've come through with some great ideas. We could mow higher. That's a start.

I'll keep an eye out for this corn based product, and a little fertilizer couldn't hurt. T

It would take the rest of my natural life to dig up this many dandelions - we're talking thousands here. But a ground cover they can't penetrate is an interesting idea. It would have to be a scary plant in its own right, but I'm open to the idea.


Anonymous said...

My husband pulls the dandelions by hand..but is can be your daily hobby.. I would love to have the option not to mow and just have grasses and wildflowers.....

Anonymous said...

Hi, I wouldnt use weedkiller on the dandelions as it will kill some of the other plants. I think in time as the other plants get taller you wont have as many dandelions.. You have a good day Bye Bye Ed