mercredi 26 mars 2008

Anti-Mousse RADICAL

Sam walked through the open French door to the living room (and most of the rest of the main floor of this small house) this afternoon and shared his top concern with me, "Mom, the grass is turning yellow. Is that normal?"

"Yes, Sam," I chirped, not feeling anywhere near as confident as I wished to sound, "it is perfectly normal. That's what the bag says it will do, but it won't last."

When gardening looks like you are killing your lawn instead of helping it, and the brown patches are growing larger by the day, but the bag says, "Un jaunissement (yellowing) éventuel du gazon (grass) après application sera passager (will be temporary, not passenger) et sans conséquence."

Il faut bien y croire,
or one must believe.

The product promises (Promises, Promises) to:
  • Eliminate the moss that suffocates the lawn and makes it fragile.
  • Contrary to iron sulfate, it prevents the regrowth of moss by correcting the acidity of the soil (good luck around here, we sit on chalk) that favors its development (hm... which way? Acid or basic?):
  • It fortifies (all this sounds like a cereal box) your lawn and assures dense and vigorous grass (or a L'Oréal bottle of conditioning 2 in 1 shampoo).
  • It doesn't stain paving stones, borders and terraces.
And it goes on to reassure me that la mousse noircie (blackened... oh?) "will be pulled out with a rake or a scarifier and the large naked surfaces will be replanted with grass seed." It sounds like both an order, and not counsel, and a spot-on prediction of my situation. Again! I feel like Charlie Brown, "Argh."

From the description, you would think that the moss will come up with ease, but what it doesn't say, and that I know perfectly well from past years' experiences, is that raking will require every bit of strength you possess in your arms and lateral abdominal muscles. It doesn't give up easily, this mousse. It digs in its little moss claws and hangs on for all it's worth, and the grass yellows long before the moss turns black in moss death. I can hear one reader telling me to embrace my moss, if that is what wants to grow, and another suggesting that I turn my lawn into an opportunity for a moss garden. No. Not here. Not ever.

Reading the bag again, to be sure I didn't miss anything important the first ten times I read it, I find:


Dans ce cas la première application ne sera vraisemblablement (I love it! "in all likelihood") pas suffisante pour éviter une repousse partielle (try a repousse complète) l'année suivante. Cependent (However), à chaque application, la mousse sera moins abondante jusqu'à sa disparition définitive (How many years?!)

I must have forgotten that. Easily done when there has been no noticeable diminution of the regrowth of the moss!

AUUUUUGH! (thanks, Katherine), Charlie Brown.

I am still pulling up Poa annua, but there is much less of it this year. It was in the first seed mixes I used because it is a highly resistant grass, but it is also unsightly. Better in a prairie where it belongs. The seed I am putting down this time does not contain any. It's the same one that I used on the second terrace last year, and I was happier with the results.

If I were making a lawn for a client, who wanted a lush and as close to perfect lawn as you could get, I would try harder to find where I can purchase the individual grains and have them mixed. What comes in the bags is a good range for most circumstances, but I am pretty sure that it is made more for their profit than for our benefit because most people in the mass commercial market just aren't that picky. Take our friends with the garden in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, she like her daisy weeds and clover in the middle of an enclosed city garden and gets upset when her husband says he really has to mow the lawn. I reassured her that nothing helps weeds return to a lawn better than regular mowing. This is perhaps the single most important element determining where I can take their garden now. It has to work with a centerpiece of weeds.

As for my taking to my bed yesterday, it was just a nasty 24-hour bug, thanks for asking, but Audouin didn't take any chances. He took to a spare bed, deciding he couldn't risk catching it from me!

We'll see if it wasn't already too late.
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