Decado
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Grass Weeds, How To Exterminate?

I have an insufferable grass weed in my garden that I can't get rid of. I try to pull it all by hand (which is a lot), they come back. I till it up deeply, and try to pull out the roots that I can find, they come back. It seems like I'm never going to be able to get rid of this terrible grass, mulch won't even hold it back. What can I do to get rid this back-breaking nuisance?

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applestar
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Newspapers and mulch?

Decado
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Doesn't the newspaper degrade then rip up and blow around? Also what about the ink? If this really does work I'm gonna have to just go clear out newstands because my garden is so large. :lol:

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Kisal
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Yes, it does degrade, which is why you pile mulch on top of it. That holds it down.

These days newspaper inks are non-toxic. The article at this link (by Ohio State University) addresses the toxicity of shredded newspaper used as animal bedding.

[url=https://ohioline.osu.edu/cd-fact/0122.html]The Safety Of Newsprint Bedding[/url]
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cynthia_h
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Am I truly the only person hereabouts who ever won a war against Bermuda grass?! :?: I have hated Bermuda grass since high school, since my father assigned me the responsibility of trimming off the runners because he wanted a green "carpet" of Bermuda grass in Tampa, Florida. (He, of course, couldn't be bothered to maintain his own stupid... never mind...)

Fast forward many years.

When DH and I lived in Berkeley, I did weight training and a lot of distance bicycle riding. Neither the Bicycle Accident nor the Car Accident had yet occurred, so I could do heavy physical work for hours at a time.

One day, I had just HAD IT UP TO HERE (ich hatte die Nase voll gehabt, in German) with Bermuda grass. Our yard was small, maybe 10' or 15' x 20', but even that was way too much Bermuda grass.

It was going down. :twisted: I had a plan. It sounded wacky, even to me, but I didn't see why it wouldn't work. All it needed was a lot OF work....

I rummaged around in the garage and found some 1x2s, wood glue, a staple gun, and some half-inch hardware cloth. I had never seen one, but I made a compost screen (it lasted from the early '80s until 2008, when I replaced the 1x2s). I rolled the wheelbarrow out to the front yard, carried the shovel and the square spade out there, root beer, compost screen, work gloves, and got started.

I dug the stuff out and threw it on top of the screen. Anything that went through the screen was returned to the ground; anything too large to pass went into the city's approved yard pick-up bags.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, yes...I sifted my front-yard dirt. Something like 300 cubic feet, give or take--there were oddly shaped places beyond the basic rectangle where I dug out the dirt and Bermuda grass, and I didn't always have to go a foot down; sometimes I got away with 10 inches or so.

I did this screening of Bermuda grass in maybe 1983. Given my personal history, this date isn't off by more than one year in either direction. We sold that house in 1997 and moved to where we are now. The Bermuda grass stayed gone. :twisted:

Now, I realize that, in most parts of the United States, yards are much larger than 15' x 20'. So I recommend a combination of the above technique and the technique I used against invasive bamboo at the same Berkeley house: metal flashing usually used as a pretty divider between planting beds, shoved straight down into the ground as deeply as it can go, so that only half an inch or so of it is visible (you do NOT want to lose track of this stuff!).

Work on the Bermuda grass in pre-determined plots of whatever size you can manage without overdoing it. Mark these plots off with the flashing when you're done so that roots from any remaining Bermuda grass won't re-invade. :evil: Plant something nice, something non-invasive that you *want* in the newly cleared plot. Nature abhors a vacuum; let her know your preference before she sends random weed seeds your way!

Best wishes for success against this vile plant.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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Kisal
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cynthia_h wrote:One day, I had just HAD IT UP TO HERE (ich hatte die Nase voll gehabt, in German) with Bermuda grass.
[img]https://www.smileyhut.com/laughing/rofl.gif[/img]
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garden5
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cynthia_h wrote:Am I truly the only person hereabouts who ever won a war against Bermuda grass?! :?: I have hated Bermuda grass since high school, since my father assigned me the responsibility of trimming off the runners because he wanted a green "carpet" of Bermuda grass in Tampa, Florida. (He, of course, couldn't be bothered to maintain his own stupid... never mind...)

Fast forward many years.

When DH and I lived in Berkeley, I did weight training and a lot of distance bicycle riding. Neither the Bicycle Accident nor the Car Accident had yet occurred, so I could do heavy physical work for hours at a time.

One day, I had just HAD IT UP TO HERE (ich hatte die Nase voll gehabt, in German) with Bermuda grass. Our yard was small, maybe 10' or 15' x 20', but even that was way too much Bermuda grass.

It was going down. :twisted: I had a plan. It sounded wacky, even to me, but I didn't see why it wouldn't work. All it needed was a lot OF work....

I rummaged around in the garage and found some 1x2s, wood glue, a staple gun, and some half-inch hardware cloth. I had never seen one, but I made a compost screen (it lasted from the early '80s until 2008, when I replaced the 1x2s). I rolled the wheelbarrow out to the front yard, carried the shovel and the square spade out there, root beer, compost screen, work gloves, and got started.

I dug the stuff out and threw it on top of the screen. Anything that went through the screen was returned to the ground; anything too large to pass went into the city's approved yard pick-up bags.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, yes...I sifted my front-yard dirt. Something like 300 cubic feet, give or take--there were oddly shaped places beyond the basic rectangle where I dug out the dirt and Bermuda grass, and I didn't always have to go a foot down; sometimes I got away with 10 inches or so.

I did this screening of Bermuda grass in maybe 1983. Given my personal history, this date isn't off by more than one year in either direction. We sold that house in 1997 and moved to where we are now. The Bermuda grass stayed gone. :twisted:

Now, I realize that, in most parts of the United States, yards are much larger than 15' x 20'. So I recommend a combination of the above technique and the technique I used against invasive bamboo at the same Berkeley house: metal flashing usually used as a pretty divider between planting beds, shoved straight down into the ground as deeply as it can go, so that only half an inch or so of it is visible (you do NOT want to lose track of this stuff!).

Work on the Bermuda grass in pre-determined plots of whatever size you can manage without overdoing it. Mark these plots off with the flashing when you're done so that roots from any remaining Bermuda grass won't re-invade. :evil: Plant something nice, something non-invasive that you *want* in the newly cleared plot. Nature abhors a vacuum; let her know your preference before she sends random weed seeds your way!

Best wishes for success against this vile plant.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9
Nice 8). Me, I've had the desire for some time to take out my front yard and put in a nice corn patch. Well, I can dream. :lol:
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rainbowgardener
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Great post! You were inspired last night.

It's a great story and a really helpful suggestion for people with city sized lots.

But it seems like the basic idea of it is you have to get rid of ALL of the bermuda grass and start over from fresh dirt. Pulling and digging will never get rid of ALL of the grass. But wouldn't sheet mulching and or solarizing accomplish the same? With a bit less physical labor?
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Decado
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Won't using newspaper as mulch cut off air flow to the plant roots that I do want growing? Just thought of this, maybe it isn't an issue.

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rainbowgardener
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The newspaper doesn't rip up and blow around or stop the airflow, because once you have laid a bunch of newspaper or cardboard down (and watered it well) you are going to put some inches of soil and compost on top of that to plant in and then mulch on top of that. If you have plants (instead of seeds) you can cut holes in the newspaper for the roots to go down into the soil below. The newspaper smothers the grass and then breaks down and gets itself out of the way and you end up with a deep rich planting bed. I have done it to turn lawn into flower bed and it works very well.

But that is to start a new planting bed. If as sounds like for the OP, you already have a planted bed with grass infiltrating it, that is harder, unless you want to start over from the beginning. You could try doing the newspaper/ soil/ mulch thing around the existing plants, which would work ok if it is a few shrubs or something, not very well if it is a whole bunch of small plants. But if you are going to till it anyway (which is starting from the beginning) then you could solarize or smother or use cynthia's method. The basic idea is that you have to get rid of ALL the grass and neither tilling nor pulling will ever do that.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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