One of the earliest posts on this blog was about how I once used a weed whacker to hack down all the poor grass in my yard instead of buying a lawn mower.

As I outlined in the post, that strategy was…ill-advised.

Though I do now mow my lawn properly, I’ve mostly stayed out of the war raging between the weeds and the grass.

The weeds are winning and it isn’t even close. 

But a few weeks ago Lowe’s had the entire Scott’s Four Step Lawn Care program on sale.  For those who aren’t familiar, the Scott’s program essentially consists of four bags of specially formulated weed and feed that you spread onto your lawn at eight-week intervals starting in early spring. 

Right then and there, I decided to enter the war on weeds.

I went a step further and drew up a complicated battle plan; the front yard is filled with bare patches, while the back yard is overrun with weeds.  I decided to first plant some additional grass seed in the front.

If you plant new grass seed, you aren’t supposed to use Step One of the program, as the powerful weed killer will also kill your new seedlings.  So in addition to Step One (which I would use on the back yard only), I bought a small bag of booster fertilizer for the front yard.

I planted the seeds, drew up a calendar for application, stacked the bags in the garage and went about my life for the next few weeks.

This past weekend, I implemented Step One.

How did it go?

Nearly five years after my weed whacking episode, my do-it-yourself lawn care skills have barely improved.

First off, I completely forgot about not putting Step One on the front yard.  I spread it everywhere, killing off the seedlings that were just beginning to sprout.

The special bag of booster fertilizer remains forgotten on the bottom of the stack of the four step program.

Next, my distribution of the granules was uneven at best.  Despite the package directions insisting that one not use a hand spreader, well, I used a hand spreader.

(By hand spreader I mean a small spreader that you carry and crank to spit out the granules, rather than the kind with wheels that you push.)

Some of the granules clumped together and jammed the tiny hole of the hand spreader.  Nothing would come out, and I would shake and bang the spreader until the clump broke free, suddenly releasing a wild stream of the granules onto the lawn.  As I made my way down the lawn, there were patches with no weed killer and then big orange piles of the stuff. 

This seemed…not good.

I adjusted the setting to the widest opening, so the granules poured out even faster, but the thing continued to jam.

I put on gloves and broke up all the clumps, but then when refilling the spreader, a huge pile of weed killer spilled out all over the grass. 

I used a rake and a broom to smooth out these piles as best I could.

Once I’d applied the whole bag, I put everything away and glanced again at the directions.


According to the directions, one bag could cover a yard the size of two tennis courts.

My lawn is roughly the size of one quarter of one tennis court.  And I used the whole bag.

I’m no expert (obviously), but this seems like it will not turn out well for my lawn.

I swept and raked off as much as I could, and warned all the neighbors to keep their dogs off my lawn for…well, the decade or so.

In the end, this seems like your classic good news, bad news situation.

Good news:  Pretty sure all my weeds will be gone in a few weeks.

Bad news:  All the grass might be too.

Good news:  Probably won’t need to apply steps two through four this year.

Bad news:  Already paid for them.

As I said in last week’s blog on clichés, you win some, you lose some.