cavinsco
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Ridiculously frustrated with grass growing in garden

Seems like a never ending battle that I cant win.... I don't really want to zap the entire garden with herbicide. We have had a really dry, warm winter and the grass is already sprouting up like wild fire. Is there something that I can do to stop the grass from growing???

I have heard that you have to kill field grasses root... but I have also heard that it is feet below the soil??

I have heard of covering the entire space with newspaper and 2 '' of mulch... will that work if the grass/weeds have already sprouted??

HELP?

ruggr10
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Newspaper and mulch or cardboard and mulch... that'll do it!

cavinsco
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yeah... i looked into mulch... I am trying to figure out something different because my garden space is 70 ft by 40 ft. That calculation at 2 inches deep would require 16 cubic yards of mulch ... ie.. a lot of loot.


If this is the option, I will do it but I am trying to conquer the grass and save a little dough.

thanks for responding

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!potatoes!
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2" is actually barely enough, too. it'll condense down to much less with a few rains. maybe look into alternative mulching materials? leaves, paper, something else you may be able to score for free? if I'm trying to smother something out with mulch, i want 8 to maybe 16 inches of mulch on when i first apply it. maybe more.

another option could be to get black plastic and solarize the ground...takes a while, and the area isn't available to plant into while you're doing it, but a few months with no sun plus heat from the plastic catching sun can kill a lot of things.

cavinsco
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hmm... I have never heard of solarizing... sounds like maybe using solar heat to kill weeds??

I hope that works in chilly Portland, Oregon. Thanks for the help

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GardenRN
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cavinsco wrote:yeah... i looked into mulch... I am trying to figure out something different because my garden space is 70 ft by 40 ft. That calculation at 2 inches deep would require 16 cubic yards of mulch ... ie.. a lot of loot.


If this is the option, I will do it but I am trying to conquer the grass and save a little dough.

thanks for responding
I agree also that 2" is not enough. I had my grass coming up through 5" of mulch. The areas where I used newspaper and mulch did significantly better, but the grass still found it's way through about 2/3 of the way through the season. I would recommend the cardboard and mulch.

And as a tip, if you find a tree trimming service, they're usually happy to get rid of their shredded limbs. It's the same as mulch you'd buy except it is fresh (good) and you can be fairly certain it is free of termites and other pests. (great). I happened to see a guy working in my area last year and I stopped and asked if he would consider dumping the load off at my house only a mile or so away. He wasn't only glad to do it, but thankful because it meant he didn't have to pay to dump it at the dump. In my area when they have to dump it, it costs them $25 every time. The guy actually called me back to see if I needed more. I ended up with 3 dump truck loads full of fresh mulch for absolutely free. And ended up selling a few truckloads on craigslist.

Best of luck to you with the grass! I have converted to container gardening. :roll: :lol:
Last edited by GardenRN on Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jeff

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Failure is only a fact when you give up.

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GardenRN
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one thing to add about solarizing. Much love !potatoes! but I have to respectfully disagree with the practice :wink: only because I think that while it does kill the grass, the fact that it also kills many beneficial micro organisms in the exact area you're looking to plant in seems kinda like cutting off your foot to spite your toes. It leaves your plants susceptible to disease and pest damage because of the lack of good organisms to help control them. JMHO.
Jeff

USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32.

Failure is only a fact when you give up.

Dillbert
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solarizing is one approach - the drawback is it takes 2-3 weeks of really strong sun to work. and that's really when you want to be planting stuff .....

smothering the weeds is probably your best option - that's corrugated or newspaper and on top of that a mulch to keep it in place.

I find newspaper the better alternative because when topped with mulch and watered it is soft enough to tear through it where you want to plant. weed whack the weeds short as possible - rake off the cut stuff to get rid of any new seed. put it down quite thick - like an entire "section" overlapped - 2-3 sheets of newspaper is ineffective - the weeds will poke right through it.

I also agree 2" of mulch is on the very light side -

cavinsco
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first off, thank you all for replying to my post and helping me figure this out.....

Just want to throw this out there... has anyone ever used burlap bags... super cheap. Maybe cover with just a dusting of bark to add to the aesthetic factor. This would also aid in hiding the drip hoses (under bark - so i can pull them up at end of season)

anyone try this???

DoubleDogFarm
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and plastic adds nothing to the soil.

I don't think jute or burlap is your answer. This type of material is used for erosion control. Weeds will grow right through it. We use it as a transition material around rubber lined ponds. It covers the black liner, but allows grass to grow through. It does blend in nicely.

Eric

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jal_ut
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How to get rid of grass? It depends some on what kind of grass. If it is some of the tough grasses like Johnson Grass that has the big horizontal rhizomes, it can be quite a problem. Two ways: One I have found is to till it every two weeks until no more comes up. If you get the roots on top, they will die. Two: Roundup. You have to let it grow until there is quite a bit of leaf so you can get enough chemical on the plants to go down and kill the roots

Solarizing is usually done with clear plastic, and it takes six to eight weeks during the hottest part of the summer to be effective. There was a discussion just recently. Look it up.

I have a neighbor who covers his whole area with black plastic, then just makes a slit big enough to plant his starts through. The plastic stays in place all season. He puts soaker hoses under the plastic so it can be watered. He swears by this method. No weeding.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

cynthia_h
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Can you borrow/rent the services of some goats or sheep for landscaping control? The owner (yes, there are companies that offer this service) will give you information on how to prepare the plants you want *saved* from destruction. Then the critters will come and eat the grass and whatever hasn't been *saved* down to nubs.

Their manure adds to the soil, and I'd follow up with the tree chippings and Freecycle.org to request other useful supplies: newspapers can be shredded or weighted down with stones/bricks as a sun-denying method once the grass has been chewed to nubs.

I haven't personally used goats, but a friend of DH's did and was very impressed. Unfortunately, he didn't believe the goatherd/owner about protecting the other plants (he had 3- and 4-foot-tall YellowStarThistle and other nasties) and lost several years' worth of growth on his rosebushes and blackberry vines. The yard was a regular yard, not out in the country or anything, in Albany, California. Look on maps, GoogleEarth, or similar: Albany, California, was a very early suburb of San Francisco. Small lots. But big enough to keep a small herd (Steve said there were TONS of goats, but when we pressed him for specifics, he said maybe six or seven of them) happy for a whole day. :)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

cavinsco
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a ton of great ideas... I read an article about Lasagna Mulching. So, much like the lucky folks of Seattle (Starbuck Roaster) we here in Portland have Stumptown. So, I went to the Roast house and they gave me A LOT of burlap bags for free. The head roaster told me that a lot of locals put straw down and then burlap and just leave it over the winter. He said that the grass can get through the burlap but not the dense straw.

Makes sense to me but none of these methods seem to take into account the grasses that stay dorment until the warm weather hits. If this is wrong than I am not wrapping my head around this project.

Dillbert
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>>Makes sense to me but none of these methods seem to take into account the grasses that stay dorment until the warm weather hits. If this is wrong than I am not wrapping my head around this project.


putting down a "barrier" - whether corrugated, paper or plastic - blocks light to any existing plant and any seeds that sprout. no light, they die.

you have to keep the barrier in place - hence the mulch thing.
you have to provide water to the dirt - for plastic barrier that means the drip system _underneath_ the barrier.

it's not a one shot fix-it-and-done-forever deal. as soon as you dig / till that'll turn up seeds that were deeper in the soil and lay dormant. in my experience takes 3-4 years of really active weed control before "most of it is gone" - but of course the wind/etc always brings in a few more.

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applestar
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I prefer "sheet mulching" which is basically the method described above using cardboard/4-5 layers of newspaper. "Lasagna" garden is the same idea but usually involves more material and I usually don't have enough.

With either method, you need to be sure to layer a good balance of greens and browns (same definition as compost and you can find a list in the sticky in Compost Forum) as well as to water the layers as you build.

For a large area, don't try to build the layers all over but define beds and build the layers in the bed areas and (scrape up the the topsoil in the paths and toss in the beds -- this part is optional depending on what you want to do in the future) cardboard mulch the paths. You can always add just enough more decorative mulch on top of the cardboard paths.

FYI -- Take a look at "I want to talk about HAY" thread in Permaculture forum.

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digitS'
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Cavinsco, I am going to take a guess that you seeing grass happily growing there in Portland right now, it may be quack grass.

Whereas you can lay down a blanket of some kind of material to kill just about anything (as long as that blanket is deep enuf :wink: ), quack grass can be killed with contentious cultivation. It lays out horizontal rhizomes just below the soil surface. One thing, if you cover it with a mulch - it may just migrate to where it can reach the surface, several feet away.

Still, those rhizomes are fairly shallow. Break them up and you will have new plants, everywhere!! What to do? I like using a spading fork and then get them completely out of the ground with a 4-prong cultivator.

I have seen a gardener go thru a bed to the depth of about 12" and shift all of that soil, pulling out the rhizomes as she went. That works but you don't need to go that deep. The roots are only down about 2 or 3 inches.

Don't try to bury them - that doesn't work. And, I once collected a black plastic garbage bag full and tossed it into the corner of the garden. It was a very shady corner or the sun's heat might have killed them. When I did this, DW said, "They aren't going to die."

To prove her wrong, I left them all summer, all winter - for 12 long months! Remarkably, I was the person who was wrong. Those quack grass roots were still alive!

Okay, if your grass is something else - the spading fork/cultivator method may not work. As James says, "It depends some on what kind of grass."

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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soil
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i had a similar problem, i have now started to just face the fact that a grass must be present in the system. so i have replaced the grass i don't want with wheat and barley. so far after just one and a half years i have made 80% of the grass i didn't want disappear.

mulching with the stalks from leftover veggies and the grain plants helped and seems to get stronger each year.

so now i get my veggies and some whole grains for cereals, soups and such.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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jal_ut
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[url=https://extension.missouri.edu/p/g4872]Johnson Grass[/url]

[url=https://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/h507quackgrass.html]Quack Grass[/url]

These two grasses are a pain to get rid of, but it can be done if you are persistent. These papers I link to have some ideas on how to battle this stuff.

I have just a little bit in one part of my garden. I spend some time every season digging the rhizomes out with a digging fork. I also try to keep the green leaves cut off or pulled. I have not eradicated it, but have kept it from taking over. I also mow everything that is not garden so no grass will go to seed. I guess the battle goes on.........

Good Luck.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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runfox
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Im in Fla but I deal with gress too

I'm in a different zone that you all, down south in Fla zone 9, but I get grass growing in my garden pretty good too. My best solution so far, I got this from some one on these forums , has been newspaper and mulch. I get the recycled newspaper free, lay it our between my rows fairly thick, then load it up with pine straw and leaves, also free from under all the trees around my garden.
The end result is several inches thick, it blocks the light and grass pretty well. When some does sprout later its easy to pull up, or cover with more pine straw. And the best thing is, when the garden is done, the pine straw and newspaper mulch down and get tilled back into the soil, nothing to pick up later.
Tim, beginer gardener

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PunkRotten
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GardenRN wrote:
cavinsco wrote:yeah... i looked into mulch... I am trying to figure out something different because my garden space is 70 ft by 40 ft. That calculation at 2 inches deep would require 16 cubic yards of mulch ... ie.. a lot of loot.


If this is the option, I will do it but I am trying to conquer the grass and save a little dough.

thanks for responding
I agree also that 2" is not enough. I had my grass coming up through 5" of mulch. The areas where I used newspaper and mulch did significantly better, but the grass still found it's way through about 2/3 of the way through the season. I would recommend the cardboard and mulch.

And as a tip, if you find a tree trimming service, they're usually happy to get rid of their shredded limbs. It's the same as mulch you'd buy except it is fresh (good) and you can be fairly certain it is free of termites and other pests. (great). I happened to see a guy working in my area last year and I stopped and asked if he would consider dumping the load off at my house only a mile or so away. He wasn't only glad to do it, but thankful because it meant he didn't have to pay to dump it at the dump. In my area when they have to dump it, it costs them $25 every time. The guy actually called me back to see if I needed more. I ended up with 3 dump truck loads full of fresh mulch for absolutely free. And ended up selling a few truckloads on craigslist.

Best of luck to you with the grass! I have converted to container gardening. :roll: :lol:

+2


On Craigslist here I found 2 people from landscape/tree trimming services offering to bring truckload/trailer load of shredded wood to your home for free.

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vebyrd36
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How about using weeder geese. I have found they do help.
Life is a journey through valleys and hills with many twist and turns, but always with sunshine and kindness at the end.

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nedwina
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Or get a flame weeder. They work. You don't have to hold the flame to the weed until it bursts into flame, just a few seconds will burst the cell walls and trash the plant. And they're really good for those invisible, just sprouting weeds. Stubborn weeds might need a second go round, but overall it's very effective, and if you have a gas grill tank you're already halfway there~ or if you want to start small & inexpensive, you can get attachments for mapp or propane tanks.

Also very effective for frying invasive species and killing weeds in cracks. Just use common sense and a steady hand, LOL.

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