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re: Bermuda grass
Bermuda grass and Johnson grass... hmmm... don't you just love those range
For those so lucky as not to be acquainted with Bermuda grass, it is a
stoloniferous grass which spreads via its very-tough stolons on several
levels, from right at the surface to 8 or more inches below the surface. It
is very difficult to remove all the stolons from all the levels, even by
digging and sifting the soil. One stolon internode will happily propagate a
new plant. NEVER till Bermuda grass! Bermuda grass spreads rapidly both
below ground with it's stolons, and by above-ground stems which can grow a
couple feet in a month easily, jumping low barriers (buried sheet metal,
etc.) and quickly rooting along the stem at internodal joints. Incredible
stuff, drought and heat-resistant as can be...
I've had the best luck keeping Bermuda grass out of uninfected beds with
the buried sheet metal trick, but the beds must be watched and above-ground
spreading stems removed regularly. I haven't found any way to deal with
Bermuda grass which doesn't involve ongoing vigilance... Digging sprigs as
soon as they are seen, and digging them all the way down, helps keep total
work down a LOT in the long run.
For preparing new beds in Bermuda grass, the cardboard and compost trick
(scalping grassed areas and covering with overlapped cardboard and compost
or soil) actually works very well in early spring IF the cardboard is
well-lapped, wetted before spreading soil (to keep soil from getting
between the laps), AND if the edges are protected (sheet metal, etc...)
from new invasion. Some grass will usually survive and need digging...
waiting too long to dig surviving grass is a mistake, as it reestablishes
quickly and deeply.
I have found a good winter crop of Ryegrass to be pretty effective at
drowning Bermuda grass in areas where winter freezes kill Bermuda grass
back to the goround if the Ryegrass is left to grow from mid-winter onward.
By the time weather warms and the Bermuda grass wants to start growing, the
Ryegrass will be thick and tall and the Bermuda grass attempting to sprout
will languish, as it likes full sun. This often needs repeating. Forage
Sorghums (Sudangrass, Redtop, etc.) can do some smothering in the summer if
the Ryegrass has knocked the Bermuda grass back somewhat already.
Ticks (like grasshoppers) are discouraged by mown grass, and dogs get a bit
of relief from ticks and fleas by having good doses of raw garlic and/or
brewer's yeast slowly introduced into their diets (not cheap, but does
actually work pretty well, though of course not perfectly). Probably not
much of any way to actually get rid of them, especially in tall grass or
Ticks, fleas, Bermuda grass, nutgrass, IRS, mosquitoes... what fun would
life be without these little reminders that chaos is ever watching over our