mollynoble
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:19 pm
Location: Southern Georgia

grass choking out my pumpkins =(

Hi,
relatively amature gardener here with a question or two. I planted pumpkin seed several weeks ago (beside our house in soil mounds in the yard), they sprouted and have been taking off wonderfully. I was then required to go out of town for 3 weeks and was unable to keep up the them, or rather, to the grass growing AROUND them. My hubby was kind enough to water daily and while the pumpkins are still hanging in there, the GRASS couldn't be happier....so much so that it now seems to be choking out my pumpkins. The vines are becoming puny and slowing in growth. There are fewer and fewer blooms opening, and you can hardly see the base of the plants anymore due to the grass around them being so high and so thick. I obviously can't mow the grass too closely to the plant in fear of damaging the vines. Last year I pathetically cut the grass every few days by hand because of the same problem, but I was able to keep up to it then. However, my MIL moved some vines to mow around them last year and that ended up killing the plants last year. I think she severed some important sections somewhere in moving them.

So how do I regain control of the grass (which is now apprx 2 feet high around some areas) without killing my pumpkin plants?

All suggestions are greatly appreciated!
Keep it simple, money isn't everything!

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jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Get a pile of newspaper and lay it on the ground around the pumpkins, about six layers deep, then mulch with whatever organic material you can come up with. Grass clippings work well. Brown leaves from last year are good too. The paper will effectively smother and kill the grass. The mulch holds the paper in place. You could clip the grass and use it for the mulch. I would mulch about 3 feet all around the pumpkin. The vines will grow much longer than that, but it doesn't seem to matter to the plant if its vine is in grass, it just needs the area around its attachment to the earth to be free from weeds and grass.
Last edited by jal_ut on Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

TWC015
Senior Member
Posts: 207
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:43 pm
Location: Jefferson Co., Arkansas

It will be hard to remove that much grass without severely damaging the pumpkin plants roots. You also probably have grasses with rhizomes, such as bermudagrass which you have to dig up to remove it. Simply cutting the grass will not stop it.

You probably cannot save this pumpkin plant, but you still have plenty of time to replant more seeds. Planting now should give you pumpkins in October. I would pull the plant and clear out a bigger area in the place you want your plant to be and then replant another seed. You could also use weed killer (roundup) in the area, but this takes a few weeks to work and you may not want to use chemicals (I try to not use them). To remove the grass so you can control it, it will be best to dig it up to at least shovel depth, shake off all of the soil, and put the grass somewhere not in the garden.

If you have grasses such as bermuda and nutgrass, be sure to get the rhizome part of the grass out of the soil (it is pointy and you can see white shoots coming off of it) or it will be back in a few days.

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