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Going Green: The Yard Beckons

I’ve never really been a fan of yard work. I should be as that was my first source of income when I was 10 years old. Back then, my uncle bought me a Murray push mower so that I could mow yards in the neighborhood. I had a pretty good little business going, too, as people were more than happy to let me sweat it out for $5 a pop in the 100-plus degree Texas heat wave in the summer of 1980. I didn’t care, I was young and a go-getter. Heat was merely an obstacle on my way to financial freedom.

It was a good run for me in my time as a small businessman. Younger Rodney had plenty of spending money, a reliable lawnmower and all the free gas my uncle could provide. Times were good and my empire flourished.

Nowadays…I’m not the go-getter I once was. You would think yard work would be in my blood after the halcyon days of my youth but it just hasn’t worked out for me. After years pushing a mower I’ve now got a fancy front-wheel drive model that pulls me around and practically even starts itself yet I put off getting it out of the garage. I don’t have a green thumb, that much is certain. I can cut the grass just fine but the actual feeding and weeding of said grass is an art I have yet to master.

This is the time of year that we start to break out the lawn mowers, weed eaters and weed and feed and get to work. Last year my family and I moved from McKinney to a newly-built house in Anna. As such, we had a brand new lawn. What I learned during that time was that new lawns are like babies — they require a delicate touch. New lawns don’t tolerate harsh chemicals and you have to be careful about what food you dole out.

Well, we’re in Year Two and it’s time to break out the weed and feed and spreader. I want that green lawn. I know, everyone wants that, but the house I moved from had a postage stamp-sized lawn with a huge tree in the middle that wreaked havoc on the grass’ root system, so it didn’t stay green for long. Things are different now: I’ve got the right canvas, I just need to create my masterpiece.

There are certainly more knowledgeable folk about lawn care than I, but after much consultation, internet research and hand-wringing I found what I believe to be the right combination of chemicals to keep my lawn weed-free, green and happy.

Of course, I’m not there yet. This point was driven home by the friendly lady who rang my doorbell in the hopes of selling me lawn services. I told her we were “fine” and she pointed back to my less-than-green lawn and said, “Well, I noticed a few weeds in your front yard…”

Thanks, lady. Hey, it’s a work in progress.

Rodney Williams is the managing editor for The Anna-Melissa Tribune and the Van Alstyne Leader. He can be contacted at or