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Friday, August 27, 2010

The grass update

It has been a while since I posted anything about our eco-lawn project. We have had a lot going on with the veggie garden that has distracted us for the last few months. Not that anyone is reading or asking about it, but as our diary, one such update is long overdue. Our earlier posts are here (under the label "Grass")

First, the front lawn

This was seeded in mid June before Guru left for NJ and looked just OK when we returned. There were sections (like the one below) that were completely bald. What you see below are the small bunches that we attempted to re-plant in that bald section. We are happy to report that these plantings are doing very well and seem to be taking root. The bald spots were in areas where our "self designed and installed" sprinklers didn't cover and thereby prevented germination. We have also seen fresh growth in this area once we started hand watering these spots.

The back lawn is a totally different story

There were a lot of big bald patches in the back lawn (read here) that we reseeded in early June (read here). Thanks to the unseasonal cold weather we have been experiencing in the bay area this year a majority of the bald spots that we re-seeded showed signs of growth.

The big picture

...and a close up of the part that showed some promise

...and the one that didn't

The parts that were seeded first were also getting really long and we hadn't mowed this thing even once. Heck...we didn't own a mower to begin with.(More on our mowing story in the next post)

The shocking thing has been the brown spots that began emerging in the grass. We initially thought that  the browning was due to the reduced watering cycle we had put in place at around the same time. What struck me as weird were the innumerable small creatures that would hop when you walked on the grass. 

Thanks to Google and the power of the Internet, we soon figured we had a Leaf Hopper problem. However, the surprising thing is that almost all the on-line resources claim that Leaf Hoppers do not cause significant damage. Either we are outliers or my diagnosis is totally wrong. In my book this does seem like a significant amount of damage.

We have also seen a pretty significant number of Yellow Jackets buzzing over the lawn. Are they after the Leaf Hoppers or are they causing any damage to the lawn? Would love to hear any suggestions you may have.

So far, our method of dealing with any problem in the garden is to give things a good shower of Neem, which we did for 3 consecutive weeks. The number of Leaf Hoppers seems to have reduced visibly when we walk on the grass. We are hoping the grass recovers from this onslaught.

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