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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 9:37 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 9:35 am
Posts: 78
Location: Bartonville,TX
I’m battling a severe case of nut grass infestation in one of the beds along the front of my house. This bed which is about 300 sq ft is home to Black Foot Daisy, Salvia Greggi, Little Bluestem, Rock Rose and a few other varieties. The soil has poor drainage and I’m in the process of converting the sprinkler system to a drip system that drips only at the base of each (desired) plant. All this rain sure hasn’t helped to dry things out though!

I’ve not tried any of the recommended solutions to control the Nutgrass, only used mechanical means in which I’ve used a garden fork to loosen the soil and then with my hands reached under the soil to follow each root to the nut and remove. Of course this has disturbed the soil considerably and likely awakened many other dormant “nuts”. I have sent this approach as waking the “sleeper cells of the garden terrorists” so as to discover and remove them. Over the last month I’ve filled my garden cart 3 times with Nutgrass stalks, roots and nodes.

I want to employ as many as Howard’s suggested controls as possible without one ruining the effect of the other.

Can I use vinegar to spot spray while also treating with dry molasses?

Do I need to be careful of the higher dose of molasses around the plants I do want?

What about the hydrogen peroxide before adding the dry molasses?

What does the newspaper do? Isn’t the paper simply a weed block or is there something specific to newspaper that makes it effective under the mulch?

I have been sending my newspaper to the curb for recycling and likely won’t have near enough to cover 300 sq ft for some time. I do have a roll or two of heavy brown construction paper used by contractors to protect floors during construction. Will that do?

Thanks for your help!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2009 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:22 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Frisco, Tejas
Nutgrass is a real pain. I was once told that it won't grow in healthy soil - yeah, and happy hour will keep drunks away from the bars too.

The newspaper under the mulch (or cardboard) is a mechanical barrier and works for a season til the worms eat it up. I have bionic worms I think, that or there is a mulch theft ring running around Frsco, TX.

I know two things that work:
1. Repeated manual removal (in beds, this means digging them out when the soil is loose and you can get three or 4 of the 'nuts' in one shot.

2. A chemical so toxic they sell it in 0.9g dissolvable packets. It works like a charm but if they won't let you near the chemical in dry form do you want the blowback?

Vinegar does help but is akin to pulling - frequent pulling or vinegar wears out the food supply in those nuts and eventually it gets weak and dies.

I have not tried peroxide or direct molasses (though my yard gets lots of diluted molasses for the sulfur and thatch removal).

The only other thing I've found effective is in the lawn - I keep my bermuda at 3/8" max all through the spring before raising it up in the hot weather. It is so thick that it chokes most weeds out... though some nutgrass makes it through.

Butane torch would probably work, there are days I've wanted to test it.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:13 pm 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
I have seen nutgrass growing in a flowing stream but I have never seen it growing in the desert. San Antonio recently got some blessed rain after 2 years of very little rain. When the rain finally hit, the yards that did not continue to water all throughout the drought were hit by nut grass and rain lilies. From this I conclude that nut grass is a plant that requires wet soil. My lawn is not plagued with nutgrass and I believe it is because of my watering plan. I water only once a week during the heat of summer and only once a month the rest of the year. Of course Mother Nature has Her own watering schedule and when that happens, the one or two nut grass sprigs I find are easily located and removed.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:22 pm
Posts: 129
Location: Frisco, Tejas
I think Dave is correct. My worst areas of nutgrass are in the lowspot between me and my neighbor who overwaters constantly, in my flower beds and veggie garden which I water frequently and at curb at the lowest part of my proiperty, I am at the bottom of a hill and get the whole streets runoff I think.

So the blowtorch idea seems to have increasing merit


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:08 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 9:35 am
Posts: 78
Location: Bartonville,TX
Well I battled that stuff all last summer in one bed. I manually dug it out 4 or 5 times. I'd loosen the soil with a fork then get on my hands and knees and run my fingers through the soil 4-6" deep and pull out webs of the stuff.

Spring is here now and so is the nut grass. The low beds and the moisture it holds has to be the issue as the raised beds on my property are not having the problem. The approach I have decided on is to remove all the plants except a few mature Salvia Greggi, Yucca and Rock Rose. Spraying Molasses and putting down paper or cardboard. Then I'm bringing in 6" of new dirt. As I spread the dirt I'm raising the existing plants up to proper height, then planting with more natives. Finally I'm replacing spray heads with drip and mulching heavily.

Look for follow up results or a For Sale listing!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 4:00 pm 
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I'm afraid I can't contribute much to this discussion at this stage of my attempt to get rid of nutgrass. I just started spraying my mixed Centipede/St. Augustine grass with a sugar solution (1/2 cup sugar in a gallon of water for each 100 sq ft) in an attempt to feed the microbes who will eat the nutgrass tubers. I'll let you know how this works. My question is can I do the same thing in beds of Monkeygrass(Mondo grass) or Lariope grass? My problems started when I had a tree removed and ordered some topsoil form a local nursery to fill the holes and depressions from the tree and stump removal. I now have nutgrass, crabgrass, and some other kind of wiry weed that spreads out in the grass.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2010 5:48 pm 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
Hi Bob,
Monkey grass is a very slow moving plant. You should be able to dig it out one time and be done with it. But if you leave one plant it will come back. I have some in the front yard. When we moved here in 1992 it was about a foot across. Now, a short 18 years later, it has grown to 4 feet across. We have made no attempt to slow it down and have been organic since 2002. It just doesn't move that fast.

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