Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Misfenestration: Word of the day?

You've done it, it's embarrassing, but you didn't know what to call it when you typed in the wrong chat window.

Misfenestration! If one can defenestrate, one can certainly commit fenestration wrongly and misfenestrate. Read more!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Rest of the Garden

When I'm not obsessing over the lawn, I'm growing heat-tolerant, extremely productive vegetables like tomatillos, tomatoes, squash, chili peppers, eggplant, and okra.

Along with the lawn's watering system, we installed several lines for drip irrigating. Two lines are for the few landscape plants that aren't able to survive in Phoenix without a bit of supplemental water, and the rest are for herb and vegetable garden plots. Read more!

Watching Grass and Weeds Grow: Week 9

It's Memorial Day. I'm sitting in the shade with a beer! We had several cool, cloudy days with light rain, which is unusual for May, and now it's back to the usual hot and dry.

The Buffalo grass continues to spread, and weeding by hand is making slow progress. The grass is spreading and rooting under the spurge where the dirt is cooler and moist all day.

Pics are coming, I promise. Read more!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Watching Grass and Weeds Grow: Week 8

Not using a pre-emergent to prevent weed growth in a new lawn area is a major mistake, especially in Phoenix. The abundant water has encouraged astounding numbers of weeds to sprout. Arizona's warm-weather weeds are mostly waxy-leaved like spurge, or fuzzy-leaved desert plants, and herbicides aren't absorbed well. Most of the weeds barely slowed down when I sprayed them with a broad-leaf weedkiller.

Most broad-leaf weed killers can't be applied to turf grass when the temperatures are above 85°F, which happens really early in the morning in Phoenix. Some herbicides specify that the daily maximum temperature can't exceed 85, which makes them useless here.

I'm hand-weeding, which in a way is good, because in the course of pulling the broad-leaved weeds I find a lot of small surviving Bermuda grass clumps that are coming from the deep roots. Left alone, these would be huge and well-rooted in a couple of months.

The buffalograss is thriving despite the weeds. The plugs have turned into dense clumps the size of dessert plates, and there are only a few patches of dirt the runners haven't reached.
Read more!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Watching Grass and Weeds Grow: Week 7

Good grief! I had forgotten how much of a pest spotted spurge (Euphorbia maculata) can be in a well-watered area of exposed dirt. What I should have done was apply a pre-emergent, but the schedule didn't permit. Fortunately, spurge is an annual weed so I get another chance next year.

The buffalo grass is sending its runners right over the top of the ground-hugging spurge, so maybe it can choke it out.

The areas where we planted the extra plugs with 9-inch spacing has a dense mesh of runners covering the soil and spurge between the plugs, with some dense satellite clumps from the earliest runners. If your budget can handle the added cost (4 times as many plugs to plant for 9-inch spacing compared to 18-inch spacing) you could have decent coverage by mid-June with a late March or early April planting. Read more!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Watching Grass Grow and Weeds Die: Week 6

The weeds are finally starting to discolor and shrivel, and I spent half an hour tracking down and spot-spraying glyphosate on any Bermuda grass sprouts I could find. I even found a pine seedling, probably left from all the pine needles, cones, and other debris that I used to compost before the neighbors removed their overgrown trees.

I forgot to turn off the sprinkler system for the required 48 hours, which washed off the herbicide. So I had to spray again. I was so focused on getting the dosage I forgot that many herbicides are slow to penetrate the leaves.

The buffalo grass is mostly thriving. Most of the plugs are much denser, and runners are zooming out in all directions. They seem to have a built-in moisture detector, because the plugs along the edge of the sprinkled area are sending more runners towards the wet dirt than the dry dirt.

About 5% of the plugs are alive but not sending out new leaves or runners. It they don't start doing something soon the more vigorous ones will run over them. Read more!