Me vs. the Weeds (or, Why I Canceled My Membership to the Y)

I believe I’ve learned what my life’s battle is going to be for the next 30 or so years.

It’s going to be a never ending battle between me and the weeds. The main enemies are Crab Grass and Pokeberry. Clover may or may not be on the list, I haven’t decided yet.

Crab grass and Pokeberry are impossible to kill. If you’re not familiar with Pokeberry, this is she:

Pokeberry pokes at your soul

This is a modest sized pokeberry that I dug up over a month ago. The key word is digging. You see, I’ve learned that pokeberry is like that myth about grey hairs. The myth is that if you pull out one grey hair, two more will grow in. This is not a myth in the world of pokeberry. This is truth. And if you don’t dig up pokeberry by the root, it will grow and grow and grow, like some Jack and the Bean Stalk ish. There’s one in my backyard that must be over 6 feet tall. I pulled one out but left the root in out of laziness, and already there are 3 more plants growing out of the stem.

Fun fact: I searched pokeberry on Pinterest and apparently the weed has been used in a Southern salad recipe. The thing is, pokeberry is highly toxic, but if you pick the right leaves at the right time, you can make a salad out of it. People even can the leaves. The berries also make a lovely purple dye, but if you eat one you will die. This sounds too risky for me. But if anyone is fixin’ for some pokeberry salad, hit me up because my yard is a pokeberry paradise.

Then there’s the crab grass. Oh, Lord have mercy.

Trying to be environmentally friendly, my wonderful aunt and uncle helped me purchase the Fiskars StaySharp Max 18 in. Push Mower. I didn’t want to mess around with gas or electric mowers because they make too much noise and I don’t like gas fumes. I read good reviews about the StaySharp Max, and I liked that it was quiet (so I can mow whenever I want without worrying about bothering the neighbors) and that it was bagless (because leaving the grass clippings actually feeds the lawn). The only downside I read about was that it doesn’t cut grass taller than 6 inches.

The first time I used it, I about passed out. I was admittedly out of shape, and the grass was high from not being cut for weeks. It took me and my uncle both to mow the entire backyard. I did the front the next morning and needed the rest of the day to recuperate. I felt muscles I didn’t know existed. The next day, my legs didn’t work. As the weeks have gone by, I know I’m getting in shape because it doesn’t destroy me to mow my lawn. I decided that mowing is my cardio and I canceled my membership to the Y. Between that and all the shoveling dirt for my plants, why waste that money when my property is my gym?

Besides me getting in shape, the crab grass was also benefitting from the StaySharp Max. Some of the grass grew to over a foot tall. I was that house on the street that had a bad yard. I was so embarrassed coming home and seeing my hedge of crab grass. I expected any day now to come home and see it cut by a secret neighbor. My mailbox started to disappear in a prairie of crab grass. Behind the hedge, I kept the rest of the lawn pristine. I didn’t know what to do.

One morning I decided to get out there and trim it by hand, then pull it out by the root. LOL. After 20 minutes, I realized this was the dumbest idea I’ve ever had. I decided this battle was too big to fight on my own, and that I needed chemicals. I went to Lowe’s and bought some crab grass/weed killer spray. The guy at the store told me it was too late to fight the crab grass, but I was like, maybe this will make it easier to pull it out from the root so I’m ignoring your advice and trying it anyway.

I went home and sprayed the crab grass hedge. It said it would take about 24 hours to work. I felt guilty about using a chemical, and hoped no children or neighborhood animals wandered onto my lawn and got sick, but it seemed like my only hope short of investing in a weed whacker.

I woke up the next day excited to see a hedge of dead crab grass. Nope. So I sprayed it again.

Hours later, my door bell rings. I recognized my friendly neighbor across the street. What does he want? He wants to know if I want him to mow my crab grass, because he knows I can’t do it with the push mower. Best. Neighbor. Ever. “YES! No problem!” I said. “I was expecting someone to do it one day while I was out.” I said.

“I thought about it,” he said, “But I didn’t want you to get mad.”

If my figs grow, I’m leaving them some figs to thank him.

Once he got done, the lawn looked amazing. There was a brown patch where I sprayed the chemicals, but I was okay with it because I was like, no more crab grass.

Tonight, I went out to mow. Besides the fact that I maybe came too close to having heat stroke, I noticed that in these brown patches are fresh new crab grass sprouts. Bright green little blades of grass! Growing where only days ago I doused in chemicals! Soooo… spraying deadly chemicals and then being cut with a lawn mower isn’t going to stop you from growing? Then what will? What will it take to kill the crab grass????

Even the pokeberries that I sprayed the chemicals on didn’t die. They drooped a little, but they’re still standing and laughing at me.

Even the side of the house where I planted the thyme is already being overrun by weeds again. It’s a joke. I feel like it’s sucking the life out of the thyme, because that’s not spreading anywhere.

So it’s on. For the next 30 or so years, it’s me versus the weeds. I’m going to be that old lady bent over in her yard pulling at weeds and cussing under her breath. That is, until I retire and move to Paris, but that’s another story for another day.

2 thoughts on “Me vs. the Weeds (or, Why I Canceled My Membership to the Y)

  1. You poor thing! That sounds like a nightmare! I saw a blog post on Pinterest about using salt to kill weeds, but it should only be used in places that you don’t want anything else to grow. Maybe give that a try? You just sprinkle it directly on the area and if that doesn’t work as well add water. That probably encourages the plant to soak it up through the roots.


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