Kacordy
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Bermuda Grass Taking Over - How to remove for next season?

FYI, This is my first post on this site. I have a large fenced garden that I built 3 summers ago. At the end of the year I use a full size tractor and till it under. My challenge is Bermuda, tomatoes, and squash grows everywhere now.
My question is how do I sterilize the ground for next season? I have now contaminated all my top soil with multiple seeds. The Bermuda grass grows knee high and takes over everything.

Thanks for your help,

Allen, Redding California

imafan26
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Re: Bermuda Grass Taking Over - How to remove for next seaso

You can do a couple of things.
You can use a sod cutter and turn the grass with the dirt facing up then put layers of cardboard and newspaper on top of it and cover it with mulch. The grass should decompose. Do not rototill as it will just break the grass into smaller sections but it won't necessarily die.

You could do the above only instead of cardboard and mulch, you can put clear plastic over the area and solarize it. The plastic cannot have any large holes in it and the edges need to be sealed to keep the heat in.
Solarization should help to kill the grass and weed seeds in the top few inches and will also help reduce nematodes and soil borne diseases. Earthworms are usually ok they will retreat to deeper soil. The cover needs to be kept on for at least six weeks and July and August are the best times of the year to do it.

After that you can cover it with mulch if you want to keep it until next year.

Lastly, you can use round up, water, let seeds germinate and repeat roundup and water until you don't see any more germination. Add your compost and manures, cover with a thick layer of mulch and put it to bed until next year.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Gary350
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Re: Bermuda Grass Taking Over - How to remove for next seaso

This is what works for me. I till my garden every day for 2 weeks. This kills seeds and plants that are trying to grow in this hot dry August weather. Every day new seeds will sprout and tilling again will kill the tender plants. I do a very fast till over the garden just to stir the soil enough to damage new plants. After 2 weeks 99% if the plants are dead and 99% of the seeds have sprouted and tried to grow. After that watch and see if any more plants come up if they do till again.

I usually do this in the fall and spring. Tilling it now puts compost into the soil. Tilling in the springs kills every thing before planting a new garden.

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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Bermuda Grass Taking Over - How to remove for next seaso

I would try solarization. Roundup will not kill the actual roots it will just kill the foliage and it will sprout again. You could try a higher concentrate but I think your best bet would be the solarization. Bermuda grass is taking over the bed that has my 2 peach trees and it is horrible. I cant control this stuff. The nickname the weed from hell is well deserved.

imafan26
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Re: Bermuda Grass Taking Over - How to remove for next seaso

Roundup does have its' drawbacks. It works best if you water and feed the grass first. Most people who are trying to kill weeds try to starve them. When plants are starved they close up and it is hard to get anything absorbed through the leaves. Feeding them puts them in the mode to absorb the roundup and it works best through the leaves. Round up may need to be reapplied to kill some weeds completely and no water for 24 hours after it is applied. If the plant blades are cut there is not much surface area to absorb the weed killer. And roundup does not really work once it hits the ground.

Repeat tilling can work. It really is not very good for the soil microbes but if you add compost and manure and wait till spring to plant they will recover.

If you have nasty weeds like nut sedge, tilling makes it worse. When nut sedge tubers are cut or separated they come back with a vengeance.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Gary350
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Re: Bermuda Grass Taking Over - How to remove for next seaso

During the dry season (NOW) if you water grass with salt water it will kill the roots too. You can buy water softener salt, snow/ice driveway salt, cattle salt all $5 for 50 lbs. Mix it 20% salt 80% warm water it will kill everything. After fall rain, winter snow and rain, spring rain, by garden season the salt will be gone.

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Re: Bermuda Grass Taking Over - How to remove for next seaso

As stated, salt will kill the Bermuda Grass. But the reason it kills the grass is because the salt is killing the life in the soil, including all beneficial bacteria. In other words, adding salt to your soil is more or less the same as killing the soil, taking away it's ability to support life. Nuking the life out of your soil can harm its ability to support any life.

As Gary stated, the salt can be washed away, but it's not guaranteed. You cannot take it for granted the salt will be washed away. Your soil must have excellent drainage, AND you must be certain that you will have a significant amount of rain.

The heart of gardening is caring for your soil, encouraging it's health. I believe that killing your soil in order to eradicate one or two weeds can be considered an extreme solution that may do more harm than good.

DoubleDogFarm
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Re: Bermuda Grass Taking Over - How to remove for next seaso

The heart of gardening is caring for your soil, encouraging it's health. Killing your soil in order to eradicate one or two weeds can be considered an extreme solution that may do more harm than good.

I agree wholeheartedly, :D but Roger, you are not in the Organic forum.


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rainbowgardener
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Re: Bermuda Grass Taking Over - How to remove for next seaso

well said, webmaster. Salting the soil is what you do when you do when you want to kill every living thing, every plant and every soil microbe, now and for a long time in the future, it's what victors do to vanquished people, so that they can never recover their livelihoods. When the Romans conquered Carthage, they razed everything and salted the soil, saying Carthago delendum est - Carthage is destroyed [forever].

It is using a nuclear weapon to kill a fly.

Tilling your soil every day is using a shotgun on the fly. Also, destructive to soil life, but at least it can recover.
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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Gary350
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Re: Bermuda Grass Taking Over - How to remove for next seaso

webmaster wrote:As stated, salt will kill the Bermuda Grass. But the reason it kills the grass is because the salt is killing the life in the soil, including all beneficial bacteria. In other words, adding salt to your soil is more or less the same as killing the soil, taking away it's ability to support life. Nuking the life out of your soil can harm its ability to support any life.

As Gary stated, the salt can be washed away, but it's not guaranteed. You cannot take it for granted the salt will be washed away. Your soil must have excellent drainage, AND you must be certain that you will have a significant amount of rain.

The heart of gardening is caring for your soil, encouraging it's health. I believe that killing your soil in order to eradicate one or two weeds can be considered an extreme solution that may do more harm than good.
A garden is a small spot on planet earth surrounded by billions of acres of good soil. It is a known fact after 10 rains the salt is gone. So what if everything in that small spot dies when salt is gone everything returns to normal like nothing happened every thing good migrates back into the spot and it returns to normal. It does not stay dead for ever. The highway department dumps Millions of TON of salt on highways and street all over the USA every year. Oil well salt water ponds will kill every thing in sight and it stays dead for as long as the salt water pond is there. When the salt pond is gone after several rains grass and weeds start to grow and soon the land returns to normal again. Salt is not a bid deal other wise EPA would have it listed in the same category as Agent Orange = 2,4,5,D.

I can show you 5 acres of land behind my Grandparents house in Fairfield Illinois where a salt water pond was that was deader that #$%^ for 30 years. After the oil well was closed and the pond bull dozed away that summer after several rains the whole 5 acres was covered in grass and weeds by the end of the summer. The very next summer my cousin planted corn were that salt water pond us to be. He has been planting corn there every year since 1980.

If you kill your garden with salt you better hope it rains about 10 times before it is time to plant your garden again. Snow melt counts as rain.

Potting soil is baked in an oven to kill everything including seeds. If you put potting soil in your garden soon all the micro organisms, worms and other thing migrate into the potting soil and soon it is full of grass and weeds. I does not take long for dead soil to return to normal all by itself.

Dead soil is a good thing just like a forest fire is good. Forest fire is natures way to get rid of the old to make room for the new.

I don't have a problem dumping salt on my yard. I killed all the wild onions in my yard with salt. I dumped about 1/4 cup of salt on each plant then waited for rain. Onion was dead so was a 6" circle of grass. One month later after a few rains the grass returned. It works.

We had a tree grow up next to the building at work. We cut that tree down many times but it kept growing back from the roots would could not dig up. Finally we dumped 150 of salt on the tree roots and it died.

imafan26
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Re: Bermuda Grass Taking Over - How to remove for next seaso

Salting the earth does work, but it is not environmentally sound. It is why I use fertilizer now to kill snails and slugs instead of salt. When I am not officially snail and slug hunting I step on them or cut them in half or bag them. I try to have a ziploc handy.

Herbicides can work if not round up there are others like ground clear and kleenup that are even less specific. Tilling and solarization should be able to kill the grass and non perennial weeds and seeds.
Even just tilling and covering the area with cardboard and a thick layer of mulch should be able to at least kill the grass. Perennial weeds will need to be either dug out or use the herbicide.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.



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