The Q&A Archives: Eliminating Bermuda Grass

Question: I have planted myoporum to rid one area of my lawn of Bermuda grass. Yet the grass seems to grow more. How long should it take myoporum to overtake and rid the areas where they are planted? Is there a better ground cover for my area to use instead?

Answer: Myoporum is a great groundcover for our area, but Bermuda is so tenacious that it must be eradicated before you plant something over it. Otherwise the watering and fertilizing of the myoporum will just encourage it. Bermuda spreads by stolons or ?runners? beneath the soil. The stolons are often 12 or more inches underground, so can survive, spread and pop up where unwanted. Here's a couple ways to get rid of it.

You can dig/till it up, removing all the roots, rhizomes, or stolons. You may have to dig 2 feet or more. Or, you can solarize, in which you let the sun do most of the work to kill the grass. You need to solarize during the hottest part of the summer, for up to 3 months. To solarize, moisten the soil, lay a 4 mm to 6 mm thick sheet of clear plastic over the grass, and seal the edges of the plastic with rocks or soil. This will naturally heat up to over 140 degrees F, in the top 4-8" of the soil, depending on soil type and temperatures. If you spread fresh manure on top of the grass before putting down the plastic, that will heat things up considerably.

Or, you can use a product with glyphosate, such as Round Up. Glyphosate is a systemic. This means when it is sprayed on a plant, the plant absorbs and distributes it throughout its system. Eventually, it kills the entire plant, including the roots. The spray can drift to other plants, particularly if there is any breeze, and kill them also. Glyphosate doesn't remain in the soil, so you can plant other things after the Bermuda is gone. Be sure to follow product instructions exactly. Good luck!

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