Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Ready to seed September 16, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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The excavator used to dig a trench for the new water line. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted file photo June 2021.

FOR THE PAST THREE MONTHS, our front side yard has looked like a disaster. Not from the drought, although that factored into the issue. Rather, excavation to replace an aged, failing water line into our house resulted in a dug up mess of a yard. I’m not blaming the excavators. Running a line into our house required a round-about and lengthy access route.

So here we are, months later, finally ready to fix our unsightly yard during the cooler days of pre-autumn. I started the process by hand pulling crabgrass, which had overtaken most of the lawn. That annual thrives in dry conditions, quickly spreading and rooting into the soil. I spent hours, days, yanking the invasive grass…until I realized I simply couldn’t do it any more.

Randy used a chemical—what I was trying to avoid by all that hands-on work—to kill the rest.

Since then, he’s tilled the soil, carefully digging for utility lines marked by flags and paint. I appreciate these markings, but wish we were informed as to the depth of these pipes and lines. The last thing we want is to slice through a line and have that added expense on top of our original water line replacement bill of $5,000. Yes, you read that right.

We need to seed this entire side yard, part of the front yard and the entire boulevard. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo June 2021.

But back to the lawn. The plan is to seed grass. If we were younger and stronger, owned a truck, had endless cash flow, and weren’t in a drought, I’d prefer sod. But grass seed it shall be. Now what to seed…

I just read an article online about research by the University of Minnesota’s Turfgrass Research, Outreach and Education Center (who knew there was such a center?) which suggests Minnesotans rethink seeding Kentucky bluegrass, the seed grass of choice in our state. Rather, the center suggests considering fine fescues. That slower growing grass requires less water and fertilizer and is more tolerant of shade and drought conditions, according to the researchers. Hmmm. That sounds worthy of consideration to conserve water and to deal with dry conditions.

Or, I had the thought of just letting the tilled yard be…and seeding field corn in the spring…because Randy and I both grew up on crop farms and…

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TELL ME: I welcome your input and advice on seeding of our now dirt yard.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling