My Cape Cod lawn is really stylin'. It's a woolly mat of glorious green outside my window. The one-inch of rain we received last week did wonders, along with a generous dose of chemicals provided by my lawn service.
Still, there is trouble in there. For the last few years, in spite of my attention and money, my lawn is losing to an advance of flat and creeping weeds.
Should I request more or different chemicals? I've tried pulling the weeds at the root but my two hands are no match for the network of tentacles that grow laterally beneath the surface. It may be time for a more natural solution.
Author Joan Benjamin suggests organic solutions in her book "Great Garden Formulas". Among them:
COOK 'EM WITH HOT WATER
This one is easy. Simply boil water in a tea kettle and pour on weeds. Just be careful not to spill or splash on your feet or the grass you wish to grow.
"RUB" THEM TO DEATH WITH ALCOHOL
Mix 1 quart of water with 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, place in spray bottle and spray weeds thoroughly. The alcohol will dehydrate the weed and kill it.
GET BORAX TO DO IT
Remember the box of borax your mom sprinkled into the laundry? It's still available. Mix 2 tablespoons of borax with one-quart of water and spray on weeds. This is most effective in late spring or early summer.
SOUR THEM ON VINEGAR
Vinegar is highly corrosive. A little bit mixed with oil makes a great salad dressing. Put it in a spray bottle by itself or diluted with equal parts water, and weeds don't stand a chance.
Lawns are a subject of controversy on eco-conscious Cape Cod. Here, we are split-personality luxury-resort meets rural agrarianism and we are conflicted about the amount of fresh water and chemicals required to maintain perfect grass. Left alone, beds of moss, pine needles and plants suitable for desert conditions would take hold just as they did in Thoreau's day.
Personally, I'm not ready to give up the chemicals. But chemicals alone are not keeping one particular weed at bay so I will supplement the care by trying the methods outlined above. I intend to start with the cheapest solution, boiled water in a teapot, and if that doesn't work, I'll go down the list.
I'll let you know how I do.