My Rural Michigan Yard


Watching the Masters in Augusta, this weekend, had me reflecting on the beauty of a well managed landscape. Prior to moving into an urban setting I clearly had  my own idea of a yard aka a lawn. Residing near the end of a cul-de-sac, or in rural terms “a dead end road”  with fields and orchards out numbering lawns, a yard was not a major concern. By definition it would be green most of the time unless there was a summer drought. It would be cut weekly to keep the weeds and grass at a civilized length, mostly to prove that someone was living in the residence.  Rarely watered, never fertilized, nor weed killers applied, my Michigan yard was a mix of SOME actual grass, weeds, tons of crabgrass, and a few bald spots. In fact, I openly delighted at the annual appearance of dandelions.              

But now that I am living where one yard merges with another, the lawn must be considered as a high priority.  Once the snow melted this Spring, a matted dead brown thatch like lawn remained. Where was my yard from last Fall?  My husband and I surveyed the neighborhood and found many yards quite different than ours. They were actually greening up quickly. We considered the DIY of lawn maintenance, but then, that would mean me. So a walk through the Yellow Pages produced several options. We had also picked up some literature from, TruGreen,  a booth at the Green Bay Home & Garden Show. My husband spent quite a bit of time on the phone finding out what TruGreen offered and he clinched the deal with them. They promised within  two weeks  the first application would be put on. Well, only two days later a big truck pulled up  front with the words “TruGreen” emblazoned across the side. A tall uniformed man deftly pulled a giant spreader out of the side compartment of the vehicle and began sprinting across the front and rear yards spraying granular substances to the left and to the right. He surprisingly finished in 6 minutes flat. I phoned my husband at work telling him I am sure we were getting ripped off. As I was telling him this, the lawn care man approached the front door with the bill. Still feeling cheated, I greeted him with a barrage of questions about how many pounds  he actually spread, how many pounds did the spreader hold, and why was the application done at the speed of lightning. He nervously answered my questions  with the same speed that he had sprinted across my lawn and then bolted to his truck. My husband called me back soon after TruGreen left and seemed unconcerned at the amount of time  spent  on the first application and assured me that “in the end” we would be pleasantly surprised and pleased with the results. I was skeptical.              

For two weeks I pondered the small sign in the front yard that humbly said to the neighborhood, “Hey, we are actually trying our best in lawn care”, but somehow, a sign that boasted “TruGreen” in a dead grass brown yard was NOT convincing. On dog walk-abouts I would compare my yard’s progress with my neighbors’ yards, but with each passing day their yards started producing lush deep green foliage at a faster rate. Each day I would try to find a yard worse than ours, but to no avail. Three to four weeks have passed and a fair amount of  precipitation has fallen and we are finally beginning to see some change, the green is starting to out-number the brown blades. Hallelujah!              

My husband has been taking pictures weekly of our  awakening lawn to document its evolution.  I see an end of the year documentary dedicated to TruGreen looming in my future. But the multi-step weed & feed and pest management applications are only part of the story.               

Another blog could be dedicated to “edging” the lawn but I won’t bore you with a lot of detail.  To be brief, we’ve seen some great as well as disastrous attempts to “edge”  throughout the neighborhood. Some homeowners have created the Grand Canyon on both sides of the sidewalk in hopes of having to edge once every few years. Others have neatly and painstakingly sculpted the grass back as if by hand with a pair of scissors and a ruler. So having a small  yard now, doesn’t make lawn management carefree, but thanks to my husband we will enlist help to get it in shape, then hopefully manage it ourselves in the future.   

 (We are on a pay as we go plan…I am currently researching this service’s background  and environmental practices..share your thoughts if you have done business with this company-they are a division of Service Master, I believe)  

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About the author

I retired 9 years ago from teaching and then remarried. Of course that wasn't enough of a life change, so I moved to Wisconsin where my husband Jon resided. This blog reflects thoughts about my Wisconsin and Michigan, hobbies, and family history. As of 2016 we have returned to NW Lower Michigan near family and friends.

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