Ask a Question forum: How to kill Johnson Grass in Asparagus bed???

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Name: Rashel
(Zone 8a)
ThePromiselandFarm.com
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PromiselandFarm
Apr 14, 2015 11:52 AM CST
I have a 4x8 raised bed that is 95% full of Johnson Grass. At first I thought it was part of the asparagus, but as the years progressed and I tried weeding it as it would come up fresh in the spring, but pulling it only made it worse as it split the roots! I never knew what it was and finally got it figured out from Dave (thank you), the horrible weed/grass is Johnson grass... I'm guessing it came with the asparagus roots that I planted because I don't have Johnson grass anywhere on our property that I know of....

Any ideas on how I can get rid of it? I'd really like to stay away from an herbicide... because it's a vegetable garden bed. Also sad to loose my asparagus bed... that's on it's 5th year...

We were thinking about using the tractor with the bucket and lifting all that dirt out with roots and all... but what do we do with the dirt? You can't burn dirt/roots etc, right? If we dump it somewhere on the property it'll grow and spread I'm sure of it. Nasty stuff.

Anyone know how to get rid of Johnson Grass?





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[Last edited by PromiselandFarm - Apr 14, 2015 11:55 AM (+)]
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Apr 14, 2015 12:12 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I could be wrong that it's Johnson Grass but it sure looks exactly like it to me. I'd love to hear ideas from the members on how to get rid of it once and for all.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 14, 2015 1:32 PM CST
We had Johnson Grass in one section of our lawn in Utah. The only way we finally got rid of it all was to mow, then let it grow so that the Johnson Grass jumped up much higher than the lawn grass. Then my husband and I would go out on the summer evenings, sit on the grass with a drink and pick at it until there were no more blades of tall Johnson Grass showing. We did this each time we mowed in the summer for at least 3 or 4 summers until finally no more tall blades appeared.

Rashel, in your asparagus bed, I think the only safe way to eradicate it is to dig a small section of the bed out at a time - and dig deep! - sift or otherwise separate it so you can pick out every single Johnson Grass root, then re-plant the asparagus. Be sure not to let the asparagus roots dry out before you get them re-planted. Maybe put them aside wrapped in some old wet towels or something?

You might lose one year's production on the asparagus this way, but you won't lose the whole bed. If you maybe do half the bed this year and half next year (and put a barrier between the weeded section so the grass doesn't invade again) you'll still have a little asparagus to harvest. I would think you'll have some nice big healthy asparagus roots after 5 years and they won't be set back all that much by being dug up and re-planted. Plus it will give you a great opportunity to amend the soil in your bed.

You certainly will lose production, and eventually lose the whole bed if you don't get rid of that accursed grass.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Apr 14, 2015 5:13 PM CST
Well, I don't live in TX and don't even know what Johnson grass is although I did hear that it's hard to get rid of. I once heard a podcast from Howard Garrett addressing that problem. You might want to check out his website and see what he recommends. He's into the organic approach and lives in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 14, 2015 5:44 PM CST
I wonder whether you might eventually get rid of it just by repeatedly snipping it off as short as you can. I know it does not survive in our pastures once they have been grazed steadily for a season.
Porkpal
Name: Wes
Ohio (Zone 6a)
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Wes
Apr 15, 2015 1:48 AM CST
Johnson grass.

Shame it isn't tasty. Tilling/hoeing/ "weeding" makes more. Much more.

My best luck in my veggie garden, last time I tried was using grass shears (pre weed-eater handheld horizontal snips) and skinny-bladed $10 hedge shears. Snipping at the tips of the foliage. Add to that (worn) hand held pruners to nip at the sprouting heads. Everyday there is more to cut. It's never ending. Peppers, tomatoes etc. rooted well and claimed some space...Less than ideal
I had a great harvest. It was an awful, ugly mess that could have done much better. I did not have asparagus.

Eh, I picked and ate pole beans supported by the JG. Beans were my least adversely affected in the later parts of the season's crop due to their "supporting cast".

There's a quote involving lemonade... Whistling

I'll subscribe to this thread to see what other have done with success?
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Apr 15, 2015 9:45 PM CST
We keep mowing and burning. Burning is not an option for you.

After five years your asparagus bed should have multiplied nicely. Do you have any place to relocate it? If you do, I would suggest digging it up and separating it carefully and get every bit of Johnson grass root out. Sometimes flushing in water will help but the asparagus roots will be dense. We had to move our asparagus after two years and it multiplied so much we cut each crown into at least four sections and replanted. Never missed a beat the next year.

Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Apr 20, 2015 12:38 PM CST
I agree with Arlene, re-locate the asparagus to a new bed, and then kill off the Johnson grass. If the grass is contained in the raised bed and can't grow under the edges, I'd cover it tightly with a thick black plastic tarp, and let it like that for a year or two. If it can escape, you may be forced to use something like Round Up on it, and then I'd still cover it for at least a year before using it again for food. Once the Johnson grass is dead, you could alway replace the soil in the bed if you don't want to use it for food, and put it someplace like a flower bed somewhere.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Rashel
(Zone 8a)
ThePromiselandFarm.com
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PromiselandFarm
Apr 20, 2015 9:08 PM CST
Great advice yall are geniuses! Thank you!

Ended up using the tractor to get it out and a shovel. Filtered through for the asparagus, it was thick and full. A whole days work.

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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
Seed Starter Cut Flowers Composter Keeper of Poultry Keeps Goats Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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abhege
Apr 20, 2015 9:10 PM CST
Good work! I hope it all works out for you. That's some lovely asparagus there too!
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 20, 2015 9:15 PM CST
Well heck! If we'd known you had a tractor c/w a backhoe and scoop . . . Phew, still a lot of work but Well Done!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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