Fighting the drought in my yard
I was off Tuesday, and my wife, Cheryl, and I spent much of a hot, humid day toiling in our side yard, raking patches of grass left dead by this summer’s drought, spreading more topsoil, then grass seed, then straw, then water.
When heavy rains followed, I hoped the seed didn’t all drain into little pools.
This summer’s drought devastated our lawn. I hesitated to sprinkle and run up a big water bill. How, Cheryl asked me, is buying topsoil and grass seed—now close to $100 worth—saving money? She has a good point.
I’d started the project a week earlier, but even that effort was delayed after I read a story in the Aug. 24 Gazette. Doug Soldat, UW Extension turf grass specialist, suggested waiting until Sept. 1 to see if some of those dead spots might regenerate on their own. They didn’t, and when I started raking Aug. 29, it seemed obvious why—the mats of dead grass were too thick and likely smothering any grass stems that might want to grow from below. I was surprised at the amount of dead stuff I gathered.
We didn’t go to the extreme a homeowner down the street took. It looks as though that homeowner used a rototiller on the entire lawn to start from scratch. I’m hoping we don’t have to resort to that. Each day, I’ll be inspecting the patches of straw with hopes of seeing new seedlings popping up. They need to grow before the falling leaves smother the new crop.
It has been a long, hot, dry summer. I wished we’d watered more. Cheryl was right—again.