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 Post subject: Eliminating Grass
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 7:12 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:55 am
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Location: San Antonnio,TEXAS
We plan to xeriscape our entire from yard. To start with we plan to dig up all the grass. My question is this: Do we need to use any kind of grass/weed killer (organic, of course) in addition to digging up all the grass? If so, at what point do we use it? We plan to create beds and pathways.


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 Post subject: Re: Eliminating Grass
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 7:06 pm 
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There's a lady where I lived who did this last year in April(before it gotHOT) all she did was her and her husband and several friends cut out the bermuda grass into strips and gave it away on Craigslist,and next they rented a tiller and till up the old soil and then added 1 dumptruck load of a good soil blend and tilled it again,the next day they must have planted over 100 plants in all kinds of sizes,I can honestly say that a year later it really looks good. :D :P


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 Post subject: Re: Eliminating Grass
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:57 am 
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Most people who xeriscape do so to stop watering. If that is your goal, and you have full sun, you can still have a lawn. Are you interested? The trick is to use the "native" prairie grasses that grow very dense, tolerate mowing, and provide excellent green color. Seeded buffalo grass is not one of those grasses. Blue grama grass is one of those grasses. The Turfalo brand of buffalo grass called Tech Turf is an excellent choice for for a very low water use lawn. There are some other natives that provide a surprisingly great lawn. The only thing is they need full sun.

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 Post subject: Re: Eliminating Grass
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:05 am 
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Location: San Antonnio,TEXAS
Thank you for your reply. We really just want areas with drought tolerant plants instead of grass. Perhaps some native tall grasses here and there but that's it.


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 Post subject: Re: Eliminating Grass
PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:12 am 
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In that case I would smother the grass. I smothered 200 square feet of bermuda in the back with 2 FULL inches of sand plus 2 FULL inches of shredded cedar mulch. That would help retain moisture in your xeriscape plus any weeds that start in the sand or mulch are very easy to remove.

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 Post subject: Re: Eliminating Grass
PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:49 am 
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Location: San Antonnio,TEXAS
I am worried that if we don't dig it out it will make its way back but I would assume you know much more about this than me.


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 Post subject: Re: Eliminating Grass
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 9:01 pm 
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Even digging it out is not a guarantee it won't come back. Smothering it really does work. One of my neighbors accidentally smothered his bermuda with compost several years ago. It went 2 full years and never really recovered. Finally they replaced it with St Augustine. I have neighbors who, every year, smother their lawns. Sometimes the same ones do it repeatedly...which always amazes me.

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 Post subject: Re: Eliminating Grass
PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2010 4:59 am 
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Location: Cedartown, GA
My yard is a conglomeration of bermuda, crabgrass, clover and other weeds. When I moved here in early February I laid out the first veggie beds and blueberry patch and put down cardboard (leftover from moving). I also added some dried molasses and a small amount of compost under the cardboard, and pine straw on top of the aisle sections. I put compost and topsoil in the raised beds. I can report that it helped, but certainly didn't smother the bermuda, which keeps popping up everywhere. Interestingly enough, one of the two raised beds has much more of an invasion, although they are only 4 feet apart. I'm going to plant a dense winter cover crop to try and get rid of this stuff.

In my blueberry patch I ended up digging out the sod by hand, putting more cardboard down and topping that with a combination of cedar mulch and hardwood mulch. That seems to be working fairly well, so far.
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Recently, I tried another approach for a new, adjacent bed area. Bought some cheap black plastic and spread it over the new area, also over the existing aisle areas that were becoming weedy. This has been down about a month, and really seems to be working like a champ. Right away, I had a lovely smell of dying, rotting vegetation coming from under the plastic, and when I peeked under the plastic after a week or so, no greenery remained. I put dried molasses here, too, under the plastic. I've read that it needs to be left in place for anywhere from 6 weeks to several months. I'm planning to leave it for 6-8 weeks, then plant some kind of cover crop to finish the job for fall planting. I'll let you know how it all works. I'm planning to do much more of this method, as it's easy, cheap and effective. I have a lot of bermuda and weeds to replace with something that doesn't require mowing.

Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Eliminating Grass
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:08 am 
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This is exactly the perfect topic I was looking for. I have tried the black plastic (heavy tarp actually) and the Bermuda came back pretty quickly. I would like opinions on my plans....
I have a plan I am going to try this weekend in setting up a fall garden. I am going to dig up the bermuda as good as I can, put down used feed bags (these should disinigrate quickly) built the raised bed sides, then top it off inside with several inches of garden mix.
I am really tired of all of the mowing. :x


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 Post subject: Re: Eliminating Grass
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:07 am 
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Location: Cedartown, GA
I removed some of the plastic from the yard today -- everything underneath was totally fried and well past half rotted. Still, I suspect that you're right and that the Bermuda would come back if I left it this way. Instead, I seeded it thickly with buckwheat and topped it with about a half inch of topsoil. I should be able to turn this under in about 6 weeks, and don't expect any Bermuda to survive. At that point, I'll build the raised beds and add plenty of organic material to fill them, and don't expect any problems with grass.

The rest of the area under plastic will be walkways around the beds, so I left that in place for now. In a couple of months I'll seed that area with a cover crop mixture that should overwinter nicely and supposedly dissuades even the most stubborn grasses and broadleaf weeds. Come spring, I'll just mow this, leave the thick root system in place until it rots away, and top it with cedar mulch. I'm hoping to have no more Bermuda in these areas, but will let you know how it all works. Some of the walkway areas have been smothered for months now.

Yesterday, I pulled some overgrown Cosmos out of an area that I'd diligently dug out by hand this past spring, getting every last bit of Bermuda out. Perhaps it was the spreading style of the Cosmos roots, but there wasn't a sign of Bermuda or anything else where these were planted, and I really haven't had much trouble with the rest of this bed, which is essentially herbs. A few broadleaf weeds, which pull up easily. So, if you have the energy to dig out large portions of Bermuda it's certainly a good way to go, but at my age I just don't have that energy anymore, or the back. I spent many hours and lots of pain on the herb bed and other areas where I dug. Now, I'm happy to take the slower, and easier, way to make it happen.

I still have trouble with Bermuda in a large area that is currently in raised beds and walkways. Back in February, when I moved here, I used cardboard boxes from moving to top the dormant grasses and weeds, covered that with thick pine straw. Inside the beds I used 6" of compost and topsoil, plus other amendments. The Bermuda still comes through all that, even though it was dormant when it was smothered. It's stubborn stuff!

It'll be good to follow your progress. Maybe we can all learn good ways to get rid of this pesky grass (I know, it's great if you want a lawn and don't mind mowing). I hate mowing!

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