The Q&A Archives: Grass in garden

Question: I planted some rose bushes in my front and some perenials in my back. I mulched both gardens. What do I do about grass growing through my mulch?

Answer: New gardens often sprout a good crop of weeds due to their seeds being brought to the surface during the soil preparation and planting process. Depending on what kind of grass this is, it may or may not be easy to establish control over it. Crabgrass for example is an easy to stop annual weed grass but Bermuda grass is a stoloniferous grass that is very difficult. There are several steps you can take. One is to rake the mulch off the area and use a swivel hoe to cut off the grass just below ground level, then remulch. Use a thick layer so it smothers the grass. Another approach is to cut the grass down, then set out a layer of overlapping newspaper sheets over the soil, maybe five sheets thick, and top that with your mulch. The mulch should be about three inches deep. This should exclude the light and smother the grass. If the grass re-emerges, cut it off and add more mulch; eventually the root reserve should become exhausted. Yet another approach is to try to pull the grass or dig it out by the roots. Finally you could try an herbicide containing glyphosate to kill the existing grass. You may need to apply it using the wipe on method for better control because it will damage or kill you desirable plants as well as the weed grass. Read and carefully follow all of the label instructions. I hope this helps.

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