I’ve never been a fan of treating lawns with herbicides or pesticides, and haven’t used any on the lawn of my Fair Haven home for several years. My favorite weed killer is the simple old fashioned device in the photo above- a long piece of metal with a handle at one end and a fish tail shape on the digging end. You walk around your lawn in the spring, looking for dandelions in bloom, and when you spot one you insert the tool into the ground so the end gets down several inches and you pry the dandelion out of the ground with as much of the tap root as you can.
If you use this method on a regular basis you can eliminate your dandelions without using any chemicals. Since they’re broad-leaf plants you often can spot them even before the buds turn yellow. Once you get the knack it’s a very easy tool to use, although it’s best right after the rain when the soil is wet and the weeds are easier to pull out of the ground. I remember my grandfather using his pocketknife to do a similar thing many years ago. If you don’t get enough of the tap root out, the plant will grow back, so it’s important that you loosen the soil around the tap root before pulling on the plant itself.
Some people with Rumson-Fair Haven homes prefer “perfect lawns” with nothing but pure green grass. I admit it- my lawn has clover and some other kinds of weeds that I don’t bother digging out. They’re small enough so you don’t notice them most of the time unless they’re in bloom. The white blooms on the clover look pretty to me, and there are times in the year when they seem to be sprinkled throughout the entire lawn. On the other hand, the violets (see photo below) seem to grow only in the shadier parts of my lawn, and the Oxalis (yellow wood sorrel) with the delicate light yellow flowers also seems limited to certain parts of the lawn.
You’ll never see one of those little pesticide warning flags on my lawn, and pets and little children don’t have to worry. And how can you beat the excited expression on a young child’s face when you tell them about 4-leaf clovers, and they actually find one on their own! That’s something you’ll never find on a so-called “perfect” chemical-treated lawn.
If you’re looking to buy a home in Rumson or Fair Haven, you know what you’re looking for, and you know what’s important to you. If you find the home of your dreams, it’s not going to matter whether herbicides and pesticides were used on its lawn or not. If you don’t agree with what the present owners did (or did not do) with the lawn, you can make changes after you take possession; in a few seasons the lawn will be what you want it to be. If you want recommendations for a good lawn service I’d be happy to give you some names. However, my recommendation is to tell them not to apply any herbicides or pesticides. Stop in at Fair Haven Hardware and get yourself a dandelion digger, and make your own decisions about what grows in between the leaves of grass. We’ll all be better off with less pesticide/herbicide runoff into the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers.
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