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What plants can outcompete lawn grass?

Thea Olsen


Joined: Jul 18, 2010
Posts: 89
Location: suburbs of Chicago USDA zone 5b
I'm trying to get rid of the grass on a slope. I've ordered some groundcover raspberries and need to know what else to plant with them. Digging all the grass out would invite erosion. It's too steep to sheet mulch. Many years ago I tried smothering it with cardboard pinned down with big wire stapes, but the city deemed that unsightly and made me take it off. It's in part shade. What can I plant here?
Shailor Clark


Joined: Apr 16, 2011
Posts: 34
Location: Roanoke Island, North Carolina
I live in the eastern part of North Carolina, so I don't know how well these would work for where you are but...

Wild carrot A.K.A. Queen Anne's Lace will outcompete the grass for sure (if it can grow in your area that is..). I've added some as well as wild mustard and domestic plants like chamomile oregano & mint all over my front yard to reclaim it from crab grass.
Clovers, sheep sorrel, & catsear (false dandelion) also find their way in help build the soil and attract pollinators!

Every part of the wild carrot can be used medicinally by making tea, and the young roots are also edible and pretty good.

Cheers
Lori Crouch


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
I've got White Dutch Clover and Chamomile (I believe it's Russian) planted in with my grass in the front yard. Hopefully that will take over the area and get it prepared for when I plant it with vegetables and fruiting bushes. Some areas are filled with bermuda grass and those patches have been completely dug up-but man is it a lot of work. Reading last night in my Food Forest book (Dave Jackey) it states that comfrey and other root spreading varieties create a good barrier to grass.

I would say if you can find a good amount of free dirt to go back with your cardboard idea, then cover it with dirt and sow some ground cover over it. Then they can't see the cardboard, you'll have a green front yard, and by the time you are ready to plant it the soil will be nice. Good luck!

Alex Ames


Joined: Feb 24, 2012
Posts: 353
    
    1
Daylilies grow o.k. in part shade and are pretty. 1,000'S of varieties to choose from. They are edible but are too pretty to eat.
Sometimes there are landscaping variety packs available at reasonable rates. Cut out a spot, put them in and they will
be established in no time. Then you can work other edible things in the same way. How about rosemary and other herbs.


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Chris Holcombe


Joined: Feb 22, 2011
Posts: 70
Location: Zone 7a Philadelphia
I've seen sweet potatoes kill my grass each year. If you let tomatoes sprawl on the ground they did a good job killing grass also. Plus tomatoes show up the next year
Thea Olsen


Joined: Jul 18, 2010
Posts: 89
Location: suburbs of Chicago USDA zone 5b
Thanks for all the suggestions!
There are some daylillies there already and I'm hoping they'll spread. I also planted rhubarb, and I'm planning to add white dutch and crimson clovers, comfrey and applemint. Maybe sweet potatoes at the top or bottom of the hill, because I think it would be hard to dig them up on the hill. How do you usually plant them when there's grass? It's been a few years since I've grown sweet potatoes.
I'm still open to more ideas if anybody has any.
Chris Holcombe


Joined: Feb 22, 2011
Posts: 70
Location: Zone 7a Philadelphia
I've put sweet potatoes in the middle of the grass. They put runners over top to shade out and them put down roots. I forgot to mention that strawberries here are also out competing the grass. I planted them at half the recommended spacing and they're pushing out like an army.
Lori Crouch


Joined: Sep 26, 2011
Posts: 104
Location: Amarillo, TX.
    
    1
I've been thinking about putting a lot of sweet potatoes out in my yard, but the slips are pretty expensive to buy. Any suggestions on a good source that won't cost an arm and a leg?
Chris Holcombe


Joined: Feb 22, 2011
Posts: 70
Location: Zone 7a Philadelphia
Abundant acres farm has them for $1.50 a piece. Another option is to make your own. I bought a sweet potato from the grocery store, stuck it in a glass of water and a few weeks later you have slips. They're real easy. The first one was harder to start. All my saved potatoes sprout in no time flat. I suspect they sprayed something on the grocery store ones to inhibit sprouting. Usually I'll plant the entire potato after it gets going but you could break off each sprout once it gets long enough and root it. Just more work. I think one or two potatoes from the dotted should easily give you 10 or 15 starts. The one on my window right now has 5 sprouts coming out.
 
 
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