P90810KThe lawn around the three small but gnarly oaks that were featured this morning in ‘Six on Saturday: Do Not Sit On Tree‘ was not always so perfectly green and uniform. Only a few months ago, it was real grass. Well, it was ‘sort of’ real grass. It was mostly dusty sand with some grass growing it in. There were weeds too, but even they were not very happy to be there.

Maintenance was ridiculous. Because some of the grass was actually alive, it needed to be mown regularly, which sometimes rutted damp soil, but more often blew dust from dry soil into the surrounding buildings. Because the soil retained such minimal moisture, the lawn needed to be irrigated regularly; but because of the old oaks trees, it could not be irrigated too generously.

The only reason that the lawn was there at all was because it got so much use. No one seemed to mind that it was such a dusty mess. The lawn dutifully served its purpose for half a century. Nonetheless, a better lawn was needed.

New sod would have been excellent, but would eventually succumb to the same wear and tear that was so brutal for the original lawn. There was also concern that the irrigation needed to sustain a turf lawn, particularly a new turf lawn, would eventually distress the aging oaks within. Ultimately, artificial turf was selected as an alternative to the real turf of the original lawn.

Rather than sow artificial seed for the artificial turf, artificial sod was installed, just like carpeting. It was remarkably quick and easy, and no one seems to mind that it is . . . well, artificial.

Because the old oaks are accustomed to the regularly scheduled irrigation of the original lawn, they will get watered by hose for the next few years, until they adapt to the lack of irrigation. (Of course, they will not get irrigated nearly as regularly as the original lawn was, but might get occasional deep irrigation just a few times through summer for only the next few summers.)

As resilient and undemanding as artificial turf is, it is not perfect. Almost immediately after installation, two melted spots appeared where guest had barbecued in portable grill. We do not know what happened to cause the damage, but we do know that the lawn will not repair itself.


12 thoughts on “The Grass Is Not Always Greener

  1. My first thought on seeing that picture was “what kind of grass is that? It looks … oddly uniform.” I had no clue fake grass could look like that. Amazing. Of course, keep the grill on the patio…It’s nice it will save water, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really dislike artificial turn. However, I really dislike real turf too. My colleague down south has a lawn of it in his garden for demonstration purposes. There are actually two different grades in one lawn and a third in another. They work very well in the shade there.

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      1. I can’t imagine artificial turf is good to sit down on. And of course, in California lawns need to be irrigated (I imagine you’ve heard that grass is the most irrigated crop in the U.S.), which isn’t ideal given water tables and its non-native status there. That stuff in the picture looked like grass I had never seen…kind of like my little fake Christmas tree that fooled me until I touched it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This particular lawn gets a lot of use. Those who use it probably prefer it to the dusty mess that preceded it. As much as I dislike it, it seems to be the best option. The athletic field up the hill is real turf, and is (barely) easier to maintain.

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      3. I remember going to an athletic field were I was told there was a ‘problem’. No one said what the problem was. I got there to find huge green waves of artificial turf blowing in the wind across the field! There was someone out there trying to staple it down, and the waves were taller than he was. I left. It was not a horticultural problem. The guys I worked for were idiots.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Tony Tomeo and commented:

    After three years, this artificial lawn is still in reasonably good condition. A few more melted patches appeared, and some areas are more worn than others, but in regard to the traffic that the lawn experiences, such damage and wear is expected.


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