Setback Mowing (verb) – The practice of mowing the living shit out of your yard so the grass will be stunted and take an extra long time before it has to be mowed again.
I’ve already discussed triage mowing. That’s when you give up all pretense of mowing your yard in an orderly manner. We’d all love a big green expanse that’s flawlessly and equally trimmed. We’d also like a butler and a Learjet. To keep up with the lawn I’d need a month of vacation. (That’s one thing the French get right!) All bets are off when the grass is going apeshit and everything looks like Kudzu on crack. Triage mowing is your last ditch attempt to hold entropy at bay.
Whenever this happens I find myself wishing I’d gotten off my ass this spring and fenced in everything but a tenth acre around the BBQ. I wish I’d turned loose a herd of sheep, or cattle, or antelope, or Mastodons. Anything that eats enough grass to keep things from going full hayfield sounds like a great plan!
Faced with more lawn than available labor I flit around during meager dribs and drabs of “spare time”; mowing only the portions of the lawn that are growing the fastest. Places that have the deepest grass get mowed. Everywhere else gets ignored. (Here’s a hint: the grass really is greener over the septic tank.)
Recently I turned the corner and hammered everything down to a manageable level. Ideally I’d crack a beer and sit on my porch feeling smug. Triage mowing was no longer necessary! Alas I’ve got a big project coming up. Once it starts I’ll have no time to mow anything for quite a while. The grass will overtake me again! Well played oh verdant nemesis.
So it’s time for strategy two, setback mowing. I dropped the deck as low as I could and mowed the damn grass twice. When I was done it was a battered, dried, beaten, shadow of its former glorious health. It’ll come back but it’s going to be a long struggle. Even if it dies I don’t care. Lawns in the suburbs are pretty and useless. Mine is ugly and useful. It’s a non specific storage and firewood production area mixed with chicken grazing, a shooting range, and open fields of view useful for sniping predators en route to the barn. There’s a reason homesteads don’t coexist with uptight homeowners associations.
Barring a dustbowl event, I’m thinking my gambit will pay off. Wish me luck!