Saturday, June 15, 2013

Public Service #4: A New Technique for Slaying the Bermudagrass Dragon.

Bermudagrass is a beast.   (Cynodon dactylon and friends) A warm-season (summer) sod-forming grass with incredibly aggressive and tough above- and below-ground rhzomes/stolons.  It's great if you want it, but hellish when you don't.
Removing it by hand form my veg garden has confirmed the lore that plenty of its rhizomes occur well below a foot underground.  It's a beast.

A search of the net and the library for ways to remove Bermudagrass provides a few options.  (1. Spray repeatedly. 2. Dig by hand for ages and ages, removing all living material.  (I've done this)  3. Fry it under plastic tarp for at least a year.  4.  Smother it with tightly pinned layers of weed fabric.

Well, none of these were going to work very well for my garden client, but we almost resigned on one... until a miracle revealed itself:

Whoah.  What?

This particular lawn of Bermudagrass mostly had rhizomes within the top two inches, like a normal sod-grass.  Wierd.  For the records, a few spots were indeed deeper.  But not much. We've already dug most of those out.  So, miracle of miracles, a rented sod cutter, set to two inches, did a bang up job of decapitating this Hydra.  I want to type the word again: Miracle.   What profound Providence.
Now we are moving on with the dryland/native/unwatered garden.

The summation:
Technique #5 for Bermudagrass removal:  Don't assume that your patch of Bermudagrass has its roots wrapped around the subway system in Shanghai: Actually check if the rhizomes are as deep as feared.

I'm humbled, again, to an old adage:    Assume nothing.

1 comment:

David Cristiani said...

And it did fine in even last winter...that's tough! The part on not assuming the roots go to China is an important one...always dig carefully, first. Good lesson for me.