When it comes to lawns, weed and feed can often translate to spread and dead, writes Simon Walker

HAZARDOUS: Getting the lawn up to speed usually requires getting the person with the poison, I mean fertiliser,  up to speed first.
HAZARDOUS: Getting the lawn up to speed usually requires getting the person with the poison, I mean fertiliser, up to speed first.

When it comes to fertilising the lawn, the grass ain’t always greener, particularly if you can’t follow instructions on the back of a weed and feed packet.

Now we all live somewhere and we all answer to someone, or something. It may be God, it may be demons, it may be the season.

Take spring for instance, when winter weeds are feeling like, just maybe, they have a right to live. Bindii,  clover, creeping oxalis – no one ever stands up for the weeds, do they? No. And that’s because they aren’t buffalo grass. And  come September 1, in the interests of lawn beautiful, they must die. So the story goes.

Some experts allege half humanity’s problems stem from being disconnected with the land. But  suburban slackers will tell you  disconnection  from the  lawn is just fine if the mower stays in the shed, which it does through  winter. And to be perfectly frank, there’s no hurry to reconnect come  spring.

Experience tells you the sun’s rays will  lengthen, the earth will warm and  grass will do what it’s does every spring  – grow. Rampantly. Shading out the weeds, and requiring you to mow. A lot. So why hurry?

Well, because eager green thumbs  (often those who don’t do the mowing)  feel the annual need to speed up the process by getting someone to weed  and feed, and worse yet, aerate the earth with a pitch fork.

It’s a dreaded call to action and  can only lead to one thing – sweat! To protest  can only bring one other thing. More protest. The classic equation for  debate. About how lazy someone is. And about how bossy someone else is.

Convection currents of frustration often spiral into a spring storm bringing the rain in so many ways, except actual rain. If only dripping sarcasm could break droughts.

In the end it’s  about yields, well yielding actually, and coming to grips with application equations for all the nutrients and poisons you purchased in preparation for this potentially grisly task.

And here’s the rub. Get the medication wrong and you may kill the patient. Poor ole lawn was at least alive before you tried to revive it.

It’s easy, say the instructions, if you can follow instructions. But  that’s usually been the sticking point way way before you get to the back of the packet and read you have to measure out 67g for every square metre  of lawn. No more, no less, and apply only when rain is unlikely in the next 48 hours, to weeds that are early in their growth phase, and not towering over the letter box.  

Applied mathematics was never your strong suit, and that hint of a double negative can be so confusing for impractical people. There is a tendency to take a “fingers crossed” approach. With the added assurance that your weeds and lawn will both probably blacken and possibly die … for a while.  But if you have applied the product correctly one of the two should come back to life. Hopefully the grass, and hopefully in time for that garden party you’re planning. 

If it’s the other way, well, you may as well die too. Little weed.