FORT IRWIN, Calif. — A popular post popped up on the “Fort Irwin Connection” Facebook page, echoing discussions regarding grass growth in the desert.
Cale Maynard wrote, “Has anyone successfully grown grass in their backyard? If so, please post pictures and tell me how you did it.”
Growing grass is something most of us take for granted. We walk on it, we ride our bikes on it, we lay on it, we water it, and we mow it down. In the majority of the United States, grass just grows. But Fort Irwin residents quickly discover, here in the desert, grass is a luxury.
Gina Fox, a Sugar Land, Texas native and self-proclaimed Fort Irwin residential grass growing expert, shared many tips with her fellow grass-growing enthusiasts. Fox was extremely helpful and answered several questions the community threw her way. Fox offered some useful tips.
“Looking out and seeing green grass is good for my soul.” Fox said, “Looking at brown all the time was quite depressing for me, so growing grass is worth every penny.”
Fox, who has three daughters and a dog, said she needed a place for them to play in the backyard and wanted to try and keep as much dirt off of her family as possible. She added that having grass also helps with keeping the dust down in the house.
“Last summer we laid top soil throughout the entire yard and spread that evenly and then we used a spreader to put the seed down. To get the seed to take, I opted to water twice a day— morning and evening— for 15 minutes,” Fox said.
Comments on Facebook indicated that patience is key and that residents don’t want to water while the sun is out because they may end up “frying” their grass.
Fox purchased her soil and grass seed from self-help and also utilizes their services for her maintenance needs.
“We do pick up our weed eater and lawn mower from self-help every time we need to cut,” she said. “It is an easy process I just walk in, fill out a form, and check out the items we need take them home and use them then return them.”
This year, Fox treated her yard with Turf Builder and Weed and Feed to preserve her lawn. Her biggest obstacles are the rodents.
“Gophers are a problem in the desert and they love to eat grass, so we have some patches in the yard where the gophers have come up and the dog has dug down after them,” she said. “However, our pest control team is great.”
Other community tips included adding used coffee grounds to the soil. Facebook commenters all agreed that fertilizer is a must. Also, include a daily watering routine until the grass sprouts and contact maintenance to turn on or repair damaged sprinklers to assist with the watering