My wife is obsessed with our lawn, and I hate it. She sends me out to mow the stupid useless thing in the morning, a task made even more difficult because it’s covered with dew-speckled webs, and I have to destroy them.
It’s like a regular village out there, with all these little spider homes everywhere. And if you look closely…is that a hobbit hole?
Surely it is. It’s gone now, though — I scoured this little shire thoroughly, and now it’s just a wasteland of stubby, wounded grass weeping volatile semiochemicals into the air, the grieving survivors rallying and swearing to rebuild and maybe planning their vengeance.
Against me. Am I the implacable, inscrutable monster in this scenario? Would Sauron have felt a sense of relief when the oppressed rose up and destroyed him? I don’t think I would have minded if a swarm of spiders had scurried up to end my reign of terror.
You need to start a slowly expanding “flower/herb” garden – with nice rocks bordering it that can be moved out a foot or so every now and then, or have another section added to it. I’ve seen some yards around here that were mostly lawn when I first came to town, and now are so much “garden” that the lawn part could be cut in a few minutes with a pair of scisors. Some nice annual plants that come back every year, as well as some good “ground cover” type plants, and your yard work drops to nearly nothing except once a year to replace stuff that has died, or add another section.
I don’t think I will ever forget “ Would Sauron have felt a sense of relief when the oppressed rose up and destroyed him?” when I smash a bug. That’s gonna stick in my brain for a long time.
Frodo & company are even now planning an ambush… whose side is teh evil cat on?
What kinds of selection pressures do lawns apply to the organisms that live there? Mowing schedules, watering regimes, dog poop and fertilizer, other? Lawns, golf courses, sports fields, school grounds are kind of weird places but numerous. I remember a paper by Susan Reichert about gene flow limiting local adaptation in an aridlands spider (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00183792), but I guess it depends upon whether local spider populations are sufficiently isolated from more productive populations. Is there enough isolation to promote intraspecies effects? Or is migration so dominant that interspecies ‘ecological’ effects swamp out ‘evolutionary’ effects (scare quotes because I don’t know the right lingo to mark the distinction I’m trying to make).
Reginald Selkirk says
This is wrong. You should wait until the dew dries off, otherwise you can spread fungal contamination through your lawn.
The Science Pundit says
You need to convert your lawn into a Japanese garden. Sure, there’ll be a one-time massacre of grass spiders, but the new habitat will be a literal spider garden that you can maintain under the guise of gardening.
Reginald Selkirk @ #5
Would that kill the lawn? If so, PZ might use dewy morning mowing as his secret weapon in his anti-lawn quest.
Oh no, it’s ‘The Twilight Zone’ episode “The Little People” all over – only, with a mower and spiders this time!
Screw decapitated grass! Plant wildflowers. Attract pollinators. And maybe a few floral-colored crab spiders to snatch unsuspecting nectar sippers.
If you’re up to the Scouring of the Shire, soon you’ll be sailing to the Undying Lands.
…you can spread fungal contamination through your lawn.
Is that web or mycelium already?
While i share your distaste of lawns ,i have a book by Hannah Holmes about lawns called “Suburban Safari ,A Year on The Lawn”
It is about all the wildlife that visit and make lawns their home .
Maybe you can show Mary how pretty a backyard meadow can be?
Just think about your grandchildren making daisy chains, running through the high grass, munching on wild strawberries, catching (and releasing) grasshoppers, learning all about nature and wildlife!