The Dead Lawn Society

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

Anybody interested in joining a Dead Lawn Society - Equilibrium and Way2Dumb and I are charter members....

I've a long story to post about the demise of my front lawn and the plans for its rehabilitation. But that comes after someone says they'd be interested.

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

The major players in the story are grubs and a skunk ....

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

I'm game Blooms .. Go fer it!! ... I'll be lurkin' here and about .. waiting in anxious anticipation!! .. hee

Dues paid for another charter member also (if'n it's a pleasin' to the rest of ye!)?

- Magpye

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

Oh goodie Mags, glad to see you.

Story, Part I - When I moved in to my present home the front yard was just that, a yard divided by a poured cement path dividing it in half. The path lead to an unused front door stoop/porch. More on that story later.

Back to the yard: The first summer I faithfully watered and watered and watered and mowed. The lawn failed to thrive but didn't die. That fall I decided to 'do in' the far side of the lawn and create a yard size swoop of a garden, so I covered it with black plastic for the winter. Come spring I skimmed off the dead grass and planted my border and curved borders with seep hose watering.
Altho it has become so shaded that the plants need re-thinking the garden on that side was a satisfying solution.

Now on to the other funnier story. The lawn that was visible on approach to the house and the side door that does get used failed to thrive. I began to actually get angry that with all that water here in the desert it should be thankful and green... there were patches going yellow brown

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

.. I'mma 'listenin' ..

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

Whoooopee! More, Blooms!

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

Long about then as I was trying to build and plant the South Border garden I ran into critter problem. Some thing was digging under the chain link and coming up in the middle of my newly planted perennials - war was on.

I filled the hole and covered with a large flat rock. He used the rock as a tunnel ceiling and came up even further into my flower bed. I filled the hole with a big round rock. He moved over ten inches. Now you understand, I still hadn't seen the culprit.

About 5-6 nites into this farce I hear a rustling of leaves thru the screen door. Ah-ha! I'm on my feet, swinging the door open, stepping out and switching on the outside light all in one swift motion.
...yep and I spun around back into the house and shut both screen and solid door just as fast.

Boy he was a solid specimen of black and white with a magnificent tail.. Thru the window and the next rooms window and finally to the front kitchen window I watched his progress. Didn't actually seem interested in uprooting my plants... Ah ha That big old skunk was rooting around those brown patches in the lawn.

GRUBS - on top of not growing well on all the care I gave it now the LAWN had grubs. Did I menton I also did the regulation feeding?
This was the most ungrateful lawn. I've had lawns at other places in Moab. So I made a deal with the skunk he could tear up the lawn and get rid of the grubs and I'd figure something else out. I quit plugging his hole and gave him space. ooops someone at the door

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

We wait.

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

The lawn began to look really sad what with lack of care from me and the intensive care of the skunk. I'd arranged with the local lawn mowing guy to get his truck load of clippings every other week and noticed him glancing askance at my lawn.

Finally he gently allowed as how he could fix the problem with my grass. And I said: "Thanks, but I've got it all worked out with a skunk" LOL shoulda seen his face.

I took to watering only the semi circle of lawn around my peach tree [it's how I water the peach] and let the rest of the grassy lawn just die. My son stopped by and asked what I was doing with the front yard and I told him I was letting it become part of the desert. He said: "Well, look like it's working."

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

This year I had an early crop of mustard - not to be allowed in another season/ bad mustard bad/.. then a few yellow bee balm showed up and bloomed most of the summer and there were about a dozen volunteer native sunflowers. oh yeah and a few salsify puffapuffas - which did get to seed.

I've placed a few large flat rock and have thoughts of a twisted path with plants growing near these and other to-be rocks as we do find here. I've planted a wormwood to give the appearance of a native sage without the size they get to be.

I plan to pick native or near native plants and keep the sparse look of a space of more zen with the area than my country cottage border.

So Now I have NO LAWN and nature keeps filling the vaccuum. Big Smiles here. And that's the story about the end of my lawn and the waste of all that water. Sort of a shaggy lawn story. ;)

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

Oh, I forgot to say that the Skunk whom I called Wilbur departed my yard the very minute he had taken care of the grub problem. I did get an occasional whiff of his presence when he would greet the dogs in the neighborhood.

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

Good for you Blooms! I'm still in the thinkin' stage. Thinkin' about how I will pull this off. Around these parts there is too much precip for a sparse native plant community to come back. I have a small strip that I have left alone. It is coming back to the original mixed tall grass prarie. Which is cool but, probably would not go over well with the neighbors. I will need to think this out.

The lawn mower is broken and I do not want to repair it!

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

LOL .. Blooms ..

Just a dadblasted shame, that you didn't give any thought to snappin' his mug shot! (or, did you ?) .. Ya haint holdin' out on us, now are ye? ...

The Sony FD-71, I had several years ago, could shoot some pretty good nite shots. However, as I'm sure you well know .. one does need to get relatively close to your subject. And now that I think about it a bit more: that .. may not have been in your best interests ... lol

Sounds like you had yaseff one fine lil adventure. And the skunk had an even better one! (apparently!) Good thing, you left him be .. for he was doing your lawn mitey good indeed! Besides, it 'sounds' like you came mitey close to 'instinkgating' a face-off .. (wellll, it'd been the opposing end actually!) hee

The lil voles (or moles, I'm not really sure which) actually did/do our ol clay fill dirt in our yard, a world of good. They actually loosen and aerate the stuff ... And our grass finally took off here. Just have to go out on occasion, to stomp the mounded rows of soil back down. Especially before we run the mower over the yard ..

We know there are skunks here also. Gosh dog, we see them as road kill most everywhere! We've been able to tell (make that, 'smell') that ol P'nut has come within somewhat close proximity of 'em on an occasion or two .. when we turn him loose, to run a bit! The first year in our home here .. with such tall front and back porches, on the eastern side - my ultimately biggest fear, was having P'nut to get in a tangle with a skunk .. right under the front porch. This is where our bedroom sliding glass doors are, and of which we sleep with them open .. about 10 months out of the year! So you can imagine my genuine concern. I guess now that I've said it .. and as 'Murphys Law' dictates - it'll fer sure 'happen' now! ... hee hee ..

I know you've said in another thread or two elsewhere here on DG - I do remember you said you'd lived in New York(?) I think it was - but don't remember if you've ever stated how long you've been there in Utah. And nosey here .. wonders what you brought you West ? Only if'n ya don't mind my being so dadblamed nosey .. hee

Truly enjoyed your skunk and grub 'tale' immensely. Know you've surely got more tales you could share too ... Get 'em worked up, and ready to post for provision to our reading enjoyment also ... Your 'dead lawn society' and any otherwise.

We's is ready for some more 'ear' fillin' Blooms .. and some imaginative visual promptin' to boot!

(and dubble check fer any pitters of that skunker too .. that ya jes may have fergotten about havin') .. hee hee

- Magpye

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

My lawn isn't dead, but it qualifies for the UGLIEST lawn when the perennial rye grass comes in, and when it goes out. What a MISTAKE that was!

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

The only good lawn is a dead lawn!!

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Can I join? Does anyone need Live Oak seedlings? This is one of the things I might want to salvage before my final assault on the last grass.
John, does the short curly prarie grass not grow in your part of Texas? I was amazed to see how it covers miles of West Texas red clay outside of Borger.

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

Yay!!! John!! Meadows or deserts or chapparall -- just not lawn.

Magpye, I didn't have a digital camera until just last year..;((

Wauconda, IL

Count me in as a member, along with my friend Equilibrium! I dislike lawn! I dig up more and more of it every year. I "replant" the grubs I dig up, for possible skunk food.

We have a dearth of skunks here, and they are becoming a threatened species....I was driving down my road one night when, out of nowhere, I saw a small black kitten by the shoulder of the road. Of course I stopped. I keep a towel in my car just in case.

I grabbed the towel, and ran across traffic to rescue this poor kitty. This poor kitty also had white stripes on it's back. It didn't register until I was 2 feet from the kitty. ooooooooooh! Still I went on...ok, baby skunk...skunks are rare in our area. Then, simultaneously, I skunks are fully armed! GAAAAH! Shooe'd the kitty far off the road, very cautiously.

Long may he/she wave and grub people's lawns! April

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

Sugarweed, Is Live Oak a thirsty plant? Native to Texas, or some parts of Texas? Short curly prairie grass sounds interesting. But for now i'm looking for the sparsely planted look. I think it's buffalo grass folks around here are planting for the little water, little care green lawn/ meadow look.

I've always carved gardens out of lawns, this is the first time I've been the cause of one's demise.

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Well, Blooms, being I'm less than 10 miles from the Atlantic and the big Live Oaks are loaded with spanish moss, they probably won't fare well in Moab, UT. I'm just a native of Texas, but do believe they live there down close to the gulf coast.
I did gather some Mesquite beans while in Texas, they will grow most anywhere. They can grow to a 12' tree/bush without water. That is the only reason anyone with any sense wood cook with mesquite, not for its ugh flavor, but that or cow patties were all there was to burn on cattle drives.
We have had years of drought here in Jacksonville. Water is very expensive. I use "Whole Earth WATER-SAVER" super absorbent water crystals. They absorb 200x their weight and then let the roots take water as they need it. My yard is 90* sand, so the water rushes through even when it rains or I water. Things planted with this do better and more with the water they get.
Here's a neighboring Live Oak.

Thumbnail by sugarweed
Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

Shucks I knew I couldn't have one. We have cottonwoods that are old enough to reach that size but not many.
And I'm a dedicated user of those water crystal beads. They're a definite plus here as I also garden in pure blow sand so anything I can put in to slow the water down as it goes by is good. Those goobers are the greatest.

Great pic, can feel the largeness and shelter of it.

Blooms, your skunk story is fun. So sorry you had nothing else for it to eat. I like those little buggers hanging around here. Mine doesn't even go off any more when we have encounters. He/she does his/her thing and I do mine. I have grown rather fond of my skunkster.

Ahhh... live oaks are magnificent. Here's a link for anyone interested-
Coleen is a wonderful lady and if you happen to have any decent sized live oaks, it might be in your best interests to register them.

Dodecatheon definitely should qualify as a member of the Dead Lawn Society. She's doing a bang up job eliminating lawn in her back yard and already created an entire prairie. By my best estimate, I figure her entire lawn out back will be gone within about 5 years and she started reducing in her front yard too. You can spot her yard the moment you enter her subdivision as it is the only yard that has any personality. All kinds of goodies and surprises await those who drive by.

For me, next year is when I start my reduction. I'm going for about a fifth of an acre. I'm smothering my grass with wet newspapers. I haven't quite decided exactly all of what is going into that area but Little Bluestem and Blue Eyed Grass are definites so far. I'm thinking of adding dashes of Ohio Spiderwort, Illinois Bundleflower, Canada Tick Trefoil, Sky-Blue Aster, Pale Indian Plantain, Fringed Gentian, and I have a few others I am tossing around in my brain that are alluding me now. I want the plants to dance in the wind and glisten in the rain.

Death to my lawn!

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

Lauren is in the building/thread!

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

The "short curly prarie grass probably IS buffalo grass. See this from A & M:

I have not seen extensive stands of it in my area but, is said to do well here. IMHO, it truly belongs in a native Texas landscape!

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Okay Dead Lawn Buddies, here's a question.
Suppose I have a friend that wants to put down an even layer of "Round-up", without spraying. She has spots that just seem to thrive with sprawling weeds right in the middle of other things she wants to save.
What would happen if she mixed round-up with some thin flat white (or green for that mater) waterbased paint and rolled in on those weed spots with a self-dispencing paint roller? She could tell where she had been already and not over spray on good plants. What are concerns with putting thin layer of waterbased paint on the sand around here?

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

Dodo, how marvelous. I'd do prairie if nature would give me the water. Loved the saving the 'kitty' story. And I'm still giggling over the idea of 'seeding' the lawn with grubs. heehee

How great is that - you guys live near enuff to see each other's yardens. ;-))

Equilibrium - first can I say that your handle is a life's goal, finding the balance. LOL
then..... oh yes, do the blue-eyed grass, first time I saw that, fell in love with it. Great mind picture: "dance in the wind, glisten in the rain" ---
Now you've got me thinking of some native grasses.
Something less than rampant. I do have border gardens that I don't want any kind of grass to show up in. Have come to look at one bermuda type grass as the enemy.

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

Dead Lawn Buddy, I don't if or how toxic water based paints are. You might get a clue about that from the "warnings" on the label. You could also call the CES agent and ask. They're supposed to know about things like that I think. Other than any toxicity issues that sounds like a pretty good idea for smallish areas!

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

Sugarweed, I've used a small foam brush dipped in the round up to paint things I wanted gone that are near things I want to keep. never thought of adding paint -- but how about adding food color straight to the round up - some of the best dye, just try spilling it.
I meant the dye not the roundup ooh never mind... I'm even going to use some next time I use ru , never thought of it before though I've stained plywood with food coloring before.

This message was edited Nov 9, 2004 1:13 PM

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

Yep, food color sounds even better!

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Well, we're talking somewhere around 1500 sq.ft.and the paint was also to thicken the Round-up so it could be applied slower, and more controled way. The use of tinted wheat paste is another option that crosses my mind. Maybe just use Round-up as liquid when mixing it. Might still want to use 1/4 cup white paint per quart, just so I know where I've been, I mean she's been. Whatcha think?

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

Ha, ha, ha, for a friend. Test your ideas on small patches first. Fifteen hundred sq. ft. sounds doable this way. Let us know how it works and include pictures as you go.


Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

You got it. Now that I'm permanately out of work, can I do a "how-to" book?

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)


Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Well, it does't look good. We really beefed up our union after the clean air treaty with 80 nation was signed in by Pres. Clinton. The US has now pulled out of the international clean air intiative.
Now we have doulble the membership and 1/5th the work. When the lights go out, they'll call us. But rules have changed and they call for my craft by name now, instead of senority or out-of-work list. I changed Unions in the middle of a 27 year career, and am not vested after 15 years in the Boilermakers.
So, it looks permanent.

I am so sorry, I completely missed this thread was alive and well. I have book marked it to my watch list. I will get back here later, have to go out and butcher some buckthorn today while the weather is still cooperating. Be back!

Sugarweed- check this thread-
Hate to say it but read it from start to finish as Round Up is discussed toward the end. You will probably have some direction as to how to go with your 1500sq feet of existing lawn. Forget my comments about the fungus... they were meant for dodecatheon so don't get hung up on them.

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

Dodo, have been re-reading this thread and got my morning giggle over something of yours - the very idea of *seeding* lawns with grubs had me simply sniggering out loud. Envisioning night raids on the local golf course. LOL

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

I am visualizing Bloooms explaining to the local fuzz as to why she has so many grubs in her purse!

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)


Brings new meaning to the term "grub snatcher". He he!

Moab, UT(Zone 6b)

John I'd just tell him I was practising to take part in a ''Survivor'' episode

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