The Q&A Archives: Grass In Garden

Question: Last year grass grew in my garden and got out of control. I lost the fight. How can I keep the grass out next year?

Answer: Grass can spread tenaciously and the best thing you can do is pull it immediately. Control partially depends on the type of grass. For example, if grass was seeded (e.g., rye) and happened to spill over into the garden area, that's fairly easy to pull out when young, as the root systems aren't that vigorous. Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch over the garden soil, which will help prevent unwanted weed seeds from sprouting. Bermuda grass, which spreads by underground runners, is more difficult to control. You need to dig down to the root, which can be fairly deep, to get all of it. Bermuda can sprout from the tiniest piece. A thick layer of mulch will help control it somewhat, but it can pop right through when it gets growing.

You might want to consider corn gluten. Corn gluten produces
an enzyme that inhibits seed germination, and can be used as a preemergent herbicide. You can get it from Gardener's Supply Co.(; ph# 800/863-1700); they call it WeedzStop. Read the description carefully first to make sure it applies to your specific situation.

You last resort would be an herbicide 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. Be sure to follow product instructions exactly. Good luck in your fight against unwanted grass!

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