Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cut Your Grass

Apparently I'm not the only one in Pasadena who wants to kill my grass. The big room at the Pasadena Convention Center was packed last Saturday for Pasadena Water and Power's "Cut Your Grass" workshop. The morning was led by the energetic Tim Wheeler, horticulturalist extraordinaire, who I remembered from an irrigation workshop I attended a couple of years ago.

Well, damn. Two years. It's been that long and I still have the most terrifying back yard on the block.

Tim can keep a crowd interested for three full hours. He's knowledgeable, dynamic and fun. He can answer almost any (relevant) question you put to him. It was a fascinating workshop and they're going to have another one August 20th (keep your eyes on Pasadena In Focus). And watch PWP's website August first for information about financial incentives for killing your grass.

But I'll never make it by August first. I'm beginning to think I won't make it at all. Yes, I want to kill my grass--which is not grass, but weeds--but once I do that I have to remove the dead stuff, and once I do that I can't just leave the dirt, I have to plant something, or put in a hardscape or a pergola or something, and it's a big yard, and all that takes planning and effort and labor and moneymoneymoney and I'm just overwhelmed. I have no idea where to start.

I want someone else to do it.


dive said...

Good luck with your admirable mission of grassicide, Petrea. You should replace it with plants that grow naturally around there. That way they won't need watering or much looking after. You could make it a local kids' educational project and sit back and sip G&Ts while you watch the children work.

I wish I could get rid of my own lawns. It's Spring now and the buggers are growing so fast that by the time I've finished mowing I have to start again. You're welcome to some of my water if you need it; we make Seattle look arid here.

Petrea said...

Good idea, Dive. I wonder if I could make it an internship, or perhaps a project for the students at Pasadena City College. I'm in over my head.

I'm going on a garden tour this weekend. Maybe that'll help.

Bellis said...

Oooh, which gardens are you going to? I can't advise on the grass killing, though maybe you could invite all your friends over for a destructive afternoon of ripping, tearing and digging?

Latino Heritage said...

It seems mulch is the key to transition from grass to xeriscape or natives. We got whupped this winter by rain grass.

TheChieftess said...

Orrrr...you could move to the mountains where your yard is dirt and pine cones and pine needles and more dirt...and it looks great!!!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I'm pulling out the jade plant behind my retaining wall. I've discovered that part of the big, thick, gushy root has grown under my neighbors walk on the other side. How do I poison that without destroying the dirt? Was anything like that covered? I'm thinking of digging a cup into the root and stuffing it with road salt, then covering the arrangement with a black plastic bag. Letting the heat play a part.

wv: defies

Susan Campisi said...

As Anne Lamott says, "Bird by bird." Don't think about the big picture. Just figure out a way to kill that grass.

Easy for me to say. I have no idea how to kill grass.

TheChieftess said...

PA...watch out for falling walls...

Susan...it's very easy to kill grass...just act like you're trying to grow it!!!

Petrea said...

The three grass-killing methods we went over are:
light exclusion

The first is fastest, the others take at least a couple of months. Because I have more weeds than grass Tim recommended a combination for me, beginning with herbicide. He said the ingredient you want to look for is glyphosate, which breaks down the plant material and leaves no residual effects in the soil--meaning it kills your weeds and doesn't pollute the ground.

(I tried light exclusion before. It worked in one spot and not in others.)

Susan, I know you're right--bird by bird. I wonder if I should kill the whole yard, or just part of the yard. Maybe take it in baby baby steps, if you know what I mean.

pasadenapio said...

I'm glad you could make it, Petrea. For anyone who missed it, we'll offer another one on Aug. 20.

Bellis said...

Glyphosate would also work on jade plants, PA. Maybe safer than trying to dig them out?

Today I was enjoying the pretty flowers in the Lower Arroyo Seco when an LA County truck came by in the concrete channel. A guy standing up in it was spraying large amounts of weedkiller at plants growing on the Arroyo side of the channel through the fence. They were killing mainly pretty little purple (geranium type) and small yellow-flowered plants. These LA flood control people never learn, do they? They want their channel and its fence boundaries to be a lifeless wasteland. Plus herbicide is expensive - why do this at a time of tight budgets?

Virginia said...

WHERE have I been? Who knew you could get money for killing your grass> I"ve been doing it for free ! I swear you folks out other in the West Coast are amazing.

Petrea said...

Thanks, PIO.

Don't get me started on the confusing methods of the County, Bellis.

Virginia, WHERE have you been? I need you?

I'm meeting with the gardener tomorrow and we'll see where he thinks we can start.

Gina said...


We have no grass whatsoever in half of our backyard. If you would like a tour and I idea of one option I would be happy to show you around. Just email me. I think you're even within walking distance of our house.


Petrea said...

Thanks, Gina, I'd love that. An email is on its way.