Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Killing the Zombie Grass

"You killed the grass," Mr. Wonderful said pulling the black plastic off the front yard. "Congratulations!"
"Thank you," I said graciously accepting his praise as if I were receiving an Academy Award. I seized the rake and spoke into its handle, "I'd like to thank my husband, my cat, my agent--"
"But you didn't kill these," my spouse said pointing to countless yellow-green shoots.
OMG My yard wasn't dead but covered in… Zombie grass!

It had been a slow death--eight weeks to be precise--but finally the turf had succumbed to my power. Back in February I had laid black plastic tarps across my lawn to kill the grass and to make the space a turf-free paradise for California native and drought-tolerant plants. Under the sun's rays, the black-colored plastic heated up and suffocated the grass to death. Ahhh, the power of black. Yep, black is beautiful.

But a funny thing happened while I was smothering the turf, I was inadvertently nurturing hundreds, thousands, gazillions of palm tree seedlings. Or what I call "Zombie grass" because: They. Don't. Die.

Our adult crop of palm trees was attractive but useless: they didn't provide shade, they were so tall I couldn't see their tops unless I was at the park--six miles away--and they were prolific breeders. Their seedlings sprouted everywhere becoming an army of Zombie grass.

But I was not deterred. I would not let my turf-free yard become a Zombie grass playground. I grabbed my trowel, a bucket and single-handedly dug up every seedling in a one-foot radius. It took me 17 hours. When I paused to look up at the rest of the lawn--I swear!--there were 68 times more Zombie grass seedlings in their place! It was a Zombie Apocalypse... at my home! I retreated to the house and locked the door.

There had to be another way. At the tool shed I grabbed a shovel, which was way bigger than a trowel, so it would take me way less time to dig up the Zombie seedlings. I marched to the front yard and was accosted by Zombie seedlings hurtling toward me with dead eyes and droolly mouths. Something had to be done!

I retreated fast to my home and double bolted the door. Now what? I needed help with these Zombies. I grabbed my phone and dialed the office for the The Walking Dead TV show.

"Production office," a bored Production Assistant fresh out of college said.
"Please help! I have Zombie grass! Attacking me!"
"Uh, Miss, I think you have the wrong number--"
"Is this The Walking Dead TV show?"
"Then I have the right number. So about this Zombie grass--"
"Uh, Miss, I'm sorry but I have the wrong number." Then he hung up on me.

Without the Zombie experts, what could I do but… fight! Realizing that trowels and shovels were the right idea but too small, I went for the big guns. At the home improvement store I rented a rototiller. Back at the ranch, Mr. Wonderful unloaded the machine with gusto and begged to till the soil himself. Finally someone wanted to help? He wanted to kill the Zombie grass? I gave him the go ahead. Big time.

He rototilled the soil east-west and north-south and in just two hours wiped out the entire population of palm tree seedlings. The Zombie grass was gone!

I dialed The Walking Dead TV show and told them the good news. The Zombie grass was history! The PA was nonplussed.

Sigh, no one understands your victories like you do.