© 2011 Aaron Atkinson

Suburban Lawncare

I hate weeds. And as much as I hate them, I love to kill them.

Dandelions, foxtail, creeping charlie, nutgrass, and crabgrass have all found lovely locations to grow and raise a family in the lawns of my neighbors. But when they come to seed and try to move in on the Atkinson lawn, well, there’s just no room in the inn.

It all starts in the fall, with a good round of lawn fertilization in early October. Like a fat bear going into hibernation, this last supper makes for a healthy lawn going into winter and it helps jumpstart my lawn in the springtime.

When the weather starts to warm in the spring I’ll fertilize again. This makes the grass green up and grow, providing fewer openings where weeds can take hold. A quick note on fertilizer, the bag will have three numbers on it and these are the percentage by weight of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen promotes overall grass growth (spring and summer.) Phosphorus promotes root growth (fall.) Potassium help grass withstand drought or disease (summer.)

When I see the first forthsythias bloom in May, I lay down a load of crabgrass preventer. It’s easy to tell the lawns that don’t apply these chartruese granuels, as these are the lawns that come August, have more crab than they do Kentucky Blue grass.

In early July I’ll hit the lawn with another round of fertilizer and a bag of white grub killer. These Junebug larvae eat grass roots and leave dead brown patchs in an otherwise green lawn. One note here, to all my neighbors who didn’t put down crabgrass preventer, don’t bother with the grub killer, that way the grubs in your lawn will eat and kill your crabgrass and dandelions.

The steps described above, are akin to the baking of a cake. And while cake is good, frosting is better!

In this case, the frosting on my lawncake is a one-two punch of Roundup and Selective Herbicide. Roundup kills it all, selective herbicides will kill most things except for grass. Many nights have my neighbors, the cultivators of crabgrass, seen me spraying the offspring of their lack of labor. And while keeping up with the weeds is an ongoing battle, I do occassionally go savor the fruits of my labor and to just to walk the line between my lawn and theirs… between grass and weeds.

Sometimes it’s the simple things than can bring a fellow the greatest satisfaction.


  1. Posted April 1, 2011 at 4:36 am | #

    I feel like this post was a special one just for me…

  2. Aaron Atkinson
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm | #

    Shane, it totally was! Well maybe for you and Brad (who thinks fertilizer is “little rocks”.) I wrote it about 6 months ago but had to wait until springtime to share it. Here’s to the best lawn on the block!

  3. Posted April 2, 2011 at 1:38 pm | #

    Whatever seeds blow in on the wind make my lawn a much more interesting place 😉

    (and, the skunks do a pretty good job of taking care of the grubs. They aerate, too.)

  4. Aaron Atkinson
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm | #

    Dave, my driveway sit at the end of a long, straight street. When the south wind blows, the seeds from the weeds of my neighbors blow up the street and get caught in the net that is my lawn. It’s a constant battle that if not fought would result in more weeds than grass. As for the skunks….

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