Archived Story

Get rid of the crabgrass in our civilization

Published 10:20am Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dear Editor,

Crabgrass does not belong in civilization.

There was a time that I was not aware of this fact. That was back when I was mowing two and a half acres, and if a plant would grow and was green it was welcome. Now I have a postage-stamp-sized-lawn, and weeds announce themselves with a presence, which is an affront to decency.

Dandelions are an affront too, but at least they stand tall and wave a yellow flag for attention. Then you can run for the weed-b-gone and with deadly aim you can dispatch the intruder. Not so with crabgrass. After germination, crabgrass grows sideways under Bermuda Grass blades, unseen and unannounced, and only after the good grasses have been choked out and killed and the root ball is large does it put forth vertical branches. One would swear that the plant is grinning at you. It is an awful sight.

Crabgrass works well for sheep pasture though. When you put the flock onto a new grazing paddock, and after they have settled down, the first plant they graze down into the root is crabgrass. They won’t touch Canadian Thistle though. The plant can’t taste that good, so perhaps the looks of a crabgrass plant just makes sheep mad. It worked for me.

After the flock has been grazing for a couple of weeks, and the pasture is down to 2-3 inches, and the spots where crabgrass once grew makes the pasture look like it has acne. There is a lot of collateral damage in getting rid of crabgrass.

That is the problem in lawns. There is no magic liquid you can squirt on crabgrass plants. You can dig them out. If the plant is small and if you catch it quickly, the collateral damage is limited to the size of a butter plate. If not, it is a dinner plate. If you want to get rid of crabgrass you must accept the collateral damage.

It occurs to me that terrorists are a lot like crabgrass. Both attack civilization. Neither announces their intentions by waving a flag. When they kill they don’t care who they kill or how many they kill.

And if you defend your piece of civilization, there is bound to be collateral damage, which, sadly, must be accepted.

After 2001, we heard warnings from the White House to nations that harbored terrorists. A significant segment of Americans wrung their hands and cried “no collateral damage! We are not that kind of people.” Now every day there is more evidence that the terrorists are winning, and civilization all over the world is shaken.

We have a president who, when he wants outdoor exercise, plays golf at the course at Andrews Air Force Base. That’s alright, but there is no crabgrass on the Fairways or the Greens at Andrews. The golf course he sees there is not the real world. I’m afraid he doesn’t even know about crabgrass.

We have a couple of elections coming up. The American electorate had better think about crabgrass and had better think about the people they elect to lead. We don’t live in a Golf-Course world.

R.F. Dodd, Hartselle

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