Reader, Charles initiated an interesting discussion about the social aspect of lawn care:
I recently bought a home with a lawn that needed some attention, including overseeding, patching, fertilizing, weed control, etc. After a couple months of hard labor the payoff was significant and a fuller, plush lawn emerged in the early part of July. However, I have recently run into a rapidly growing crabgrass problem. I suspect that these weeds are spreading from my neighbor's yard, where weeds are the "ground cover of choice" (or what they call a lawn). Am I correct in my assumptions and is there anything I can do to stave off the weed invasion? I was thinking of putting up a wall of fine mesh on stakes between our yards but thought that might be a wee bit obnoxious.
Unfortunately, I had to affirm the truth behind his assumption:
Crabgrass is a prolific seeder, and nearby seeds will find a way to get onto your property -- one way or another (e.g., birds will carry the seed over). You'd have to enclose your property totally within a bubble to keep out the crabgrass seed. My guess is that you'd be unwilling to do that, even if you could.
This discussion tends to make one reflect on how the phenomenon of the "well-manicured lawn" intersects with issues of a social nature. Indeed, it might not be going too far to claim that there is a cooperative element in achieving a well-manicured lawn. At the very least, it's safe to say that -- as Charles found out -- what your neighbor is doing can have a significant impact on how hard you'll have to work on your side of the fence to keep your lawn free of crabgrass.
Photo of crabgrass ©2006 David Beaulieu (licensed to About.com)