Rachel Carson would be so angry with me.
After years of keeping her best-selling investigative book, “Silent Spring,” in a storage box I finally read it last year. It wasn’t the juicy indictment I expected on those who abuse the environment. Rather it was a fairly dry indictment on those who abuse the environment. She plunged so deeply into the use of specific pesticides, herbicides, and other poisons, naming each one, that I came away thinking I had just read an in-depth inventory of the Monsanto warehouse.
However, the one take-away that I got was: sprays = not good.
That’s why, when I determined to improve the look of my lawn this year, I did (so sorry, Dr. Carson) buy three bottles of a Bayer product designed to kill over 250 kinds of weeds. Two hundred and fifty!! My biggest fear was that I would have no lawn left because, in all honesty, there are many more weeds than grass that comprise what I call a lawn, including clover, crab grass, and dandelions. Hey, they’re green, and they look good after mowing them all to the same height.
The lawn treatment comes in a bottle that attaches to the end of a garden hose and then (whispering: “sprays”) the chemical on the lawn. I wanted the treatment only for the areas of my lawn that are close to the street so that the curb appeal was upped. If truth be known, I had very low expectations that this product would be as effective as it touted itself to be, based on my past experience with these kinds of products.
The 250-plus weeds that it would kill were listed in about a 2-point font on the tiny paper that was glued to the bottle and had to be scraped off with a putty knife, weeds I never knew existed. Well, I have news for the Bayer people. I have about 32 kinds of weeds that their product doesn’t even touch. Are they listed among the 250-plus others on the bottle? How would I know? I’m not a botanist. Except for the Bermuda grass, clover, and dandelions that are part of the mini-botanical garden I call a lawn, I have no idea what the other things are, except that they seemed not to be affected by the treatment.
It took about three or four days, but I did see an effect on the dandelions. While the neighbors’ lawns are virtual dandelion nurseries, with fields of little yellow “faces” growing heartily, I have no dandelions now. I did notice, however, that before those weeds gave up the ghost, they turned prematurely seedy in a valiant effort to propagate, ensuring future generations of dandelions in my lawn.
While I would never go to extreme measures to try to create a grass-only lawn, I thought the Bayer treatment was a reasonable attempt to eliminate the more obnoxious weeds. One neighbor complimented me yesterday, which made me feel good.
I just hope I didn’t contribute too heavily to the deterioration of the environment. Someday Rachel Carson will let me know, I’m sure.