Well, that didn’t take long. After weeks and months of snow on the ground, the warm April sun has finally melted us out.
All of the sudden, green is starting to sprout here and there. That green is now taking over the lower foothills. From afar it is beautiful — rolling hills of emerald green against the backdrop of snow capped peaks.
Up close, the wild grasses are popping up all around our house. I used to joke to people that when you move to the mountains, you trade your lawn mower for a chainsaw. It’s true you won’t be tending a nice plush lawn anymore. For one, you can’t use well water for watering a lawn or a garden. A chainsaw does come in handy to cut trees, cut logs, and limb up trees.
But that doesn’t mean you should do away with all lawn care items.
Because a good weed whipper is invaluable.
The result of doing fire mitigation is opening up the forest and lots of wildflowers and grasses growing. Last spring, a banner crop of alpine dandelions spread around our house. Almost immediately as soon as the temperatures warm, sprouts of green begin poking up.
The thing about those grasses is if you allow them to grow, they become tougher and thicker. We almost broke a weed whipper trying to cut down grasses several inches high. You have to get after them early and often or you’ll lose the battle.
The bonus of an abundantly snowy winter is lots of grass. During this time of year, it’s easy to forget those benign looking shoots of emerald will eventually dry out. It’s not at all uncommon that a snowy winter is followed by wildfires in the late summer and fall. Grasses are the quickest and easiest to burn during a windy and warm summer day.
Weed whipping season is also wildflower season. Since I can’t plant flowers in the conventional sense, I “plant” flowers unconventionally. The most moist spot on our property is our septic field. In addition to its contents, it is also located on a north slope that tends to hold onto snow. Each spring, I buy some native wildflower seed, throw it onto the septic field, and rake it in. The following year, I seem to get a few new wildflowers I haven’t seen before. My mountain garden.
So pull out that weed whipper. Check the cable to make sure it’s in good shape. Get ready for a good shoulder and arm work out.
While you’re at it, throw out some seed. The benefits of your early spring yard work will pay off later this summer.