McGregor Says: Getting to the root of the problem

By this time of the summer I have pretty much given up on my lawn.

Over the years I have spread on fertilizers and turned on the sprinklers and watched my lawn dry up.

Surrounded by a lot of trees and with a base of gravel, there is little sun and the water drains pretty fast. I watch my lawn slowly turn from verdant green to Brookswood beige.

But then after one night of rain I wake up to find a field of yellow weeds, six to eight inches high, that have sprung up from nowhere.

I marvel at these intruders and how they can lie dormant, waiting for a few drops of rain and a flash of sunshine and then spring up with no human assistance at all.

In the olden days, we would have applied weed killers like Round Up, but then someone determined that chemicals such as glyphosate are harmful to birds, animals and humans. It became ethically wrong and globally irresponsible to kill weeds with chemicals that were also killing us.

Earlier this year, I bought some broad leaf killer from a local garden centre and had to sign an agreement that I would not use this near parks, water sources or around animals. I sprayed it on and all it really did was change the color of my moss.

So this time I decided to be responsible and stay away from chemicals. On a cool day, I set up my portable CD player, mixed a jug of Ice tea and, using my manual weed puller, I spent a considerable amount of time pulling the weeds out, one by one.

When I was finished, my lawn resembled a First World War battlefield, pock marked with craters.

A quick pass with the lawn mower and, if you drive past at about 60 km/h from a distance of about 50 feet, my lawn looks pretty good.

Plus, there was a feeling of satisfaction. I could see the results of a couple of hours of work. It had been a quiet afternoon with great background music and chance to let unconnected thoughts ramble through my brain.

It seems that it’s human nature to look for a quick fix to the weeds that surround us in our day to day lives.

We would all like to have a spray bottle full of solutions that we could quickly spray all around us and in the morning, those worrisome challenges would be lying withered and dead — problems solved.

But in the end we know that the best solution is to do the hard work, to get the dirt under our fingernails, get to the root of the problem and pull at it until we have a solution that is going to last.

As long as we remember that no matter how good our lawn or our life looks to people, there are always going to be weeds waiting there under the surface. Don’t leave them there too long.

At least that’s what McGregor says.