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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Good Yardwork Day Yesterday, 2

And by "yesterday", I mean Monday, since this is part 2...

After clearing out tree saplings and forsythia, I went after the running grass in the annual flowerbed.  The running grass is some evil grass that spreads by underground runners.  I don't know the variety of this one, but it is upright, single at first but will send up several stalks later, the runner roots are white, and they send up a new shoot about every 8-12".  Each one has to be dug up deeply individually, but you also have to dig up the soil between shoots to get the runners.  You can't even pull them up in soft soil.  The roots are brittle and snap of when pulled, and if you leave any part of the runners in the ground, they grow from that.  They probably arrived here in a coneflower or stella d'oro lily perennial I bought and planted at the sides and back edge.

Thank goodness for my leverage fork! 

I think it is one cool tool.  Oh of course, there are standard great tools like shovels and rakes and hoes.  But in the "unusual" category, I have to rank that up with the scuffle hoe and the pointed stainless steel trowel!  This thing is solid steel, when you put your foot under the curved part you have great pressure, and when it is in deep you just bend it back and the U-bar leverages the tines to push up the soil.  If you can step the tines IN the soil, the bar will pull the soil up and loose.  And it is great for chopping up big clods of hard soil too.

So I set to work on the runner grass with the leverage fork.  Push it in, bend it back, move it 4" and repeat.  Forever.  But the point is that it goes deep enough to get below the grass runners and the grass comes out roots and all.  If you soil is hard (as I hope it is not in any garden) you can pound the soil clumps on the U-bar to break up the soil and take out the grass runners.

I'm not saying the leverage fork makes it "easy", just "possible".  It still took an hour this time (my 3rd attack on the grass in 2 weeks).  THIS attack was on the difficult edges and around the perennials, so I had to work more carefully.  In fact, I soaked the target areas with a hose the day before to soften the soil.  When I used a roto-tiller to establish the bedding area many years ago, the edges were hard to get at properly, so the grass is harder to get at there.

I know from sad experience that I can never get ALL the below-ground runner roots.  But I bet I set them back 4-5 years this time.  Here is the de-grassed area...

Annuals will be going the bare spots next.  I like to have red salvias and blue forget-me-knots, but I had poor germination and growth of my annual seeds this year.  I even only got 75% of the marigolds to grow.  Well, the seeds were several years old.  I may have to buy some seedlings at the garden store.  Or maybe I'll plant a few various veggies.  I have some extra seedlings left over from the veggie beds.  Still, I'd rather have annual flowers there.  They bloom their little heads of all season.


Mariodacatsmom said...

Wow, you are really getting the work done around there. I know you enjoy it - my husband does too. Feels good in the summer to do some digging and planting.

Shaggy and Scout said...

I tend to make fun of some of the tools that my husband buys. Some of the stuff he gets he says "might come in handy someday." But he is do-it-yourselfer like you are and he knows his tools. He's not as good as you as about putting them back when he's done with a project though! Anyway, many many many years ago he bought a little crowbar like tool called a "Wonderbar." I never said anything but thought: "oh how ridiculous, what a stupid purchase." But he has used that thing for so many projects and little things it's amazing. Lynne