Ask a Question forum: Bermuda grass what to do?

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sweethomestead
Jan 30, 2017 4:43 PM CST
I drew up my plans for our garden in our new home. We went out and started digging up the yard with a broad fork. Then we realized that were have several areas of Bermuda grass in our yard. We dug up a 6 ft by 8ft area of the Bermuda grass. It seems impossible to get it all that way not to mention last years seeds. Ugh! I am pretty adamant about not using herbicides. I have heard solarizing and shading out may work. I was thinking maybe I could put down a double layer of card board in the area I want to garden. Then I could put 2 ft deep raised beds on top where my beds would have been if not for the Bermuda grass. Filling the beds with clean weed free soil. Does this seem like a good idea? Does anyone have a better idea or personal experience with this weed? We need to have a vegetable garden this spring and summer.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jan 30, 2017 5:15 PM CST
Welcome!

I hate to be a downer but manually removing every little piece of Bermudagrass is really the only way to get rid of it. A couple feet of new soil won't discourage it and may encourage new rampant growth.

Chemicals don't work all that well either. Here's an article about it from the University of California's Integrated Pest Management program. Solarization could work for you but you would have to give up your vegetable garden in that area this year. The geotextile fabrics don't work - the holes are just big enough for the shoots to come through. Unless you are willing to track down every little runner, even if its going through a plant, you will lose this battle.

http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTN...

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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jan 30, 2017 5:27 PM CST
"...put down a double layer of card board in the area I want to garden... put 2 ft deep raised beds on top... Filling the beds with clean weed free soil."

That idea should work. Thumbs up Crossing Fingers!
I've done the same for other "weedy" grass areas and as long as you exclude sunlight and water the space for the raised bed will be fine.

In between the raised beds (the walkways in between) you will need to also lay down something similar to exclude light and water to prevent the grass from growing. One or two layers of cardboard, or several layers of heavy duty landscape fabric, covered with a good layer of mulch should work.

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Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
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plantcollector
Jan 30, 2017 9:49 PM CST
Bermuda grass sucks. About 5 years ago I did the same thing you're thinking about doing I build a raised bed I put cardboard down it wasn't two feet deep it was about a foot. I planted a whole bunch of strawberries in it and by the end of the summer the Bermudagrass was the so thick nothing would grow but the grass. I'm dug out most of the dirt and replaced it and the next summer the Bermudagrass came back just as thick. So I ended up spraying Roundup in it. Which killed most of it even though that was several several years ago I have never planted food in there again it became a flower bed. Last summer I bought a weed torch which really helped but I had to use it almost everyday. Soon as I saw one little blade come out of the ground I torched it. So I'm watching this question to see if there are any good ways to really kill this stuff. I don't think suffocating it will work because it runs and Vines under the ground so if it comes up somewhere else it's still alive.

sweethomestead
Jan 31, 2017 8:59 AM CST
Thanks Heath did you put cardboard only in the garden boxes or did you also block out the paths between the boxes at least 2 feet away from where you were planting? I am glad you mentioned removing the soil because that's what my husband wanted to do. I think I may end up having to try solarizing it with clear plastic. I just with I would have known last summer when we weren't trying to have a vegetable garden there and it was 110 degrees. ugh
Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
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plantcollector
Jan 31, 2017 12:56 PM CST
I left one little section unprotected outside the bed and that's where it got in at.. That stuff is great for a golf course bad for a garden.

sweethomestead
Jan 31, 2017 2:02 PM CST
I think I am going to have to solarize it this summer and put off my garden a year. Makes me sad but it seems to be the best option. I talked to my local plant clinic and if I were to shade it out I would need 4 layers of cardboard and 8 inches of mulch. Lol wow I had to share that information with you. Oh and it says that it will still be a problem.
Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
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plantcollector
Jan 31, 2017 2:37 PM CST
I hate that you have to put off your garden for a year but it's probably the best way. I would recommend a weed torch. I get a lot of satisfaction burning that stuff and the pill bugs that hide under it Whistling
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Jan 31, 2017 2:48 PM CST
Perhaps acontainer garden could tide you over.
Porkpal
Name: Heath
sevierville TN (Zone 7a)
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plantcollector
Jan 31, 2017 2:55 PM CST
Just don't set the container on the grass. It will grow up throw the drain holes..
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jan 31, 2017 5:09 PM CST
sweethomestead said:I think I am going to have to solarize it this summer and put off my garden a year. Makes me sad but it seems to be the best option. I talked to my local plant clinic and if I were to shade it out I would need 4 layers of cardboard and 8 inches of mulch. Lol wow I had to share that information with you. Oh and it says that it will still be a problem.


I've tried the solarize route, didn't work for me.

Here's a guy on another forum claiming to have found a solution...
http://www.idigmygarden.com/fo...
I found the Achilles' heel of Bermuda Grass -- sun light, it needs a lot. Bermuda grass (thankfully) cannot tolerate shade. So once I tilled the stuff into the garden (initially, years ago) I heavily mulched the garden, shading it out the BG and as the plants grew, they did the rest.

I occasionally find strands attempting to grow out of my mulch, but it's very easy to yank out. Normally BG wants to grow horizontally along the ground, but when it's looking for sunlight, it grows straight up and doesn't have the energy to grow deep roots during this time, so very easy to pull out.

Personally, I'd be afraid to try his solution...

When I've attempted to dig bermuda out... I was never successful.... in spite of digging down several feet, I never found the end of the stuff.

I'd be tempted to try the shade it out approach from your plant clinic...
except, my shade it out approach involves plastic sheeting and carpet....

I haven't tried it on bermuda, but I have successfully defeated florida stachys...
It just takes a full year, or maybe two.

I took up the carpet that I most recently had on top of soapwort a month or so ago, it looked dead... but... alas, it's coming back...

So... shading seems iffy... works fine as long as the carpet remains... but you really can't plant anything there...
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 1, 2017 9:21 AM CST
If you're going to smother tough grasses like wiregrass, torepedo grass, bahiagrass, Bermuda, the smother must be strong, block the light, and stay in place for at least 6 months. All of these grasses are in our yard and it takes forever for a smother to truly work.

The other important element that must be done in conjunction with the actual smother is severance. Going around the edges of the to-be-smothered area to several all connections from the "grass" under the smother to anything outside. Without doing that, no matter now long the smother is in place, anything under there that is still connected to healthy plant material outside of the smother area will stay alive indefinitely until the conditions permit growth again. And will never stop creeping until it finds the edge of the smother to reappear on the other side. Don't bother if this step won't be included.

My fav thing to use is corrugated cardboard under at least 4" of heavy material, anything organic, whatever's available, from "dirt" moved from elsewhere, mulch, leaves, kitchen scraps, yard trimmings, pine needles, any combo of these. Using all organics means nothing needs to be moved later to use, and while waiting the soil is improving in tilth, fertility, drainage.

Make sure there are no sharp sticks or stumps that will puncture the smother.

Uncovering a small area for a month or so to test if it's been long enough for death to truly occur is always a good idea.

This is not for those in a hurry, but for those who want to invest initial waiting and the efforts described above in a plot that will be used indefinitely, improving with time, as more organic material is added as needed to maintain a layer on the surface to protect soil from wild temp and moisture fluctuations.


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Name: Sidney
NC (Zone 7b)
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Sidney
Feb 1, 2017 10:42 AM CST
sweethomestead said:I drew up my plans for our garden in our new home. We went out and started digging up the yard with a broad fork. Then we realized that were have several areas of Bermuda grass in our yard. We dug up a 6 ft by 8ft area of the Bermuda grass. It seems impossible to get it all that way not to mention last years seeds. Ugh! I am pretty adamant about not using herbicides. I have heard solarizing and shading out may work. I was thinking maybe I could put down a double layer of card board in the area I want to garden. Then I could put 2 ft deep raised beds on top where my beds would have been if not for the Bermuda grass. Filling the beds with clean weed free soil. Does this seem like a good idea? Does anyone have a better idea or personal experience with this weed? We need to have a vegetable garden this spring and summer.


Use a generic roundup herbicide not the premixed. The 1that is 41 to42% glyphosate. Follow label directions for mixing and spray. Remember that the weed has to be in a growing state not dormant.

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