May 30, 2020
After letting the bags of mulch sit in my front yard for over a week, I decided it was time to spread it on my flower beds. I do have a disclaimer. I put down the first bag of mulch when I brought it home. Then Melissa asked me to wait for her to decide which of two beds she was going to use for the outdoor succulent garden. She made the decision last week and it still did not spur me into action. I mentioned earlier how much easier it was to weed when I prepared the garden plots this year. Melissa and I even weeded the flower beds several weeks ago, but I did not put down the mulch and I will have to do it all over again. To be honest, it is a lot of work.
Weeding the beds would be a lot easier if it were only weeds that infested them. Weeds tend to put down shallow root systems. This allows the weeds to put all their energy into growth, and ultimately seed production, to propagate a new series of plants. By growing quickly, they can spread seeds several times a growing season and maximize their chance of survival. The bigger problem is the invasive grass. Grass takes the opposite approach and first puts down deep root systems. The deeper the roots the more likely the plant will survive both drought and cold. This makes the grass much harder to pull from the flower bed.
I spent the morning on various work task but after lunch I was ready to tackle the yard. I weeded the front planter and about half of the flower bed in the front of the house. I always throw the weeds in the yard to keep from having to figure out what to do with them. I dutifully used my weed eater to trim around the yard features and then jumped on the mower to finish the job. I was pleased to note the lawn had dried out from the rains and I was able to cut the entire lawn for the first time in weeks. With this preparation I was ready to lay down the mulch. The good thing about only mulching half the beds, is that I get to finish the job on another day.
THOUGHTS: Grass and weeds take two different approaches to insure survival. This difference comes from the weeds being an annual and the grass being a perennial. Basically, the weeds quickly grow, shed their seeds, and die. The same grass grows every year, and rather than dying, it goes dormant in the hot and cold months of the year. Both approaches work as evidenced by each type of invasive plant returning annually. There does not seem to be a “better way,” they are simply different approaches. Countries have tried different approaches to combat the virus. Some have tried to “slow the curve” and others to quickly develop “herd immunity.” It is yet unclear whether one approach will be better than the other. Hopefully, we will learn from these experiences and be better prepared next year. If you venture out, stay safe.