Time For the Winter Lawn

Jonathan Dalton, Phoenix Real Estate AgentIn Arizona, the calendar turning from the end of September to the beginning of October means summer has broken once and for all. Triple-digit temperatures (of which we had a record number) give way to the kind of weather that makes the rest of the country jealous – 80-odd degrees, gentle breezes and sunshine.

This also is the time of year when many of us plant our winter lawns, rye grass laid on top of whatever happened to survive the summer – grass, dirt, tumbleweeds, small rodents.

Planting a lawn likely is a foreign concept to many, including my growing collection of Canadian readers, so I thought I’d share the basics.

1) Measure the lawn. You could do this by stepping off the length or width 0r, for better results, pulling out a tape measure. Or you could use the method passed down through at least two generations of Dalton males – stare at the lawn and say, “it’s about yea big.”

2) Go to the nursery. Summer Winds Nursery on Bell Road sells winter lawn packages – for one all-inclusive cost, you get a set amount of seed, seed cover and lawn starter. They even suggest how much seed you’ll need based on the square footage you seek to cover. Unfortunately, none of the packages seem to be made for a lawn that’s “yea big.”

Phoenix real estate

3) Spread the lawn starter and the seed. Normally you would use a spreader for something like this, but that method fails once you’ve determined your children used both your push spreader and your handheld spreader as props in some elaborate game and that after the game’s conclusion, they left the parts to melt in the summer sun. Fortunately, the seed can be spread by hand though your skin soon will be green from the dye included on the seed.

4) Return to the nursery for more seed. While this happens most often when trying to convert “yea big” into something meaningful, it’s almost guaranteed that you will not have enough seed. Even if you bought four bags to cover two square feet, you’re going to run out of seed. The green dye actually is a magical ingredient that causes seed to disappear once you’ve reached into the bag or otherwise dispensed with some of the contents. But before you return to the nursery …

5) Begin laying down the seed cover. And what is seed cover? Compost. Fun stuff. Just rip open the bag and begin pouring. Don’t even THINK about leaving the seed uncovered lest your entire lawn soon be covered by pigeons migrating from across North America. But now that I think about it …

5a) Chase away the birds. What they don’t tell you is pigeons and other airborne foul can spot seed cover from 36 miles away. I’m almost certain the swallows wouldn’t return to Capistrano if a large amount of seed cover was left in Pacoima. Seed cover does manage to save about 8% of the seed spread, so at least you have that. (This was number six but the silly WordPress software is inserting a smiley emoticon which clearly is not appropriate for a topic of such magnitude.)

7) Finish spreading the seed. See step 3. If you were smart, you would have purchased a spreader at the nursery. But you most likely were so busy cursing the demise of the first two and the fact you needed to buy more seed that you couldn’t focus on something so logical.

7a) Start watering. And watering. And watering. This also is the time that you discover that the sprinklers that handyman fixed back in August really aren’t working right. So you get to go back to your roots and start watering by hand. No spray nozzle needed … this is what your thumb is for! And don’t mind that fact you may water your cell phone at the same time. … Not that I did this. (See above emoticon note for the reason there’s no 8.)

9) Wait for the first blades to appear. And wait. And wait. It’s almost as much fun as watching Notre Dame’s offense. (Sorry, Dad.)

10) Once the first blade appears drag your children, wife and pets into the yard to see the event. Commence celebration akin to Tom Hanks in Castaway when he makes fire.

11) Get a picture … if frost hits, you’re done for.

[tags]Phoenix real estate, real estate humor[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.