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How can we kill/get rid of Bermuda grass to start over (without using chemicals)?

Janna djs


Joined: Apr 16, 2013
Posts: 5
We had Marathon Grass in the front and back yard. Over the years, Bermuda grass has infiltrated.
There is such a wealth of knowledge here at permies.com, that I have hope that someone can help us with this.

We are now ready to redo our front and back yard.
Front will have no lawn. It will be a garden to draw butterflies, birds and bees
Back yard will have no lawn either, it is going to be a small food forest of sorts (approx. a 20 x 10 foot area)


how can we get rid of the Bermuda so we can start over? (no chemicals)

Our landscaper (is traditional and knows nothing of permaculture) says we must spray to really get rid of it. I can't accept this to be true, but finding conflicting information. anyone have experience with this?
I wish we could hire a permaculture expert in Anaheim CA, but need to get over that ....because we can't find anyone. So, we are going to just try to figure it out as we go, on our own.

thank you in advance for any help you can offer.


John Flower


Joined: Apr 03, 2013
Posts: 15
Location: New Zealand
UC Davis suggests solarization maybe useful. This is killing weeds by covering the ground with plastic and using the sun's heat to kill everything. Here's an excerpt from that, specifically mentioning Bermuda grass:-
Weeds

Soil solarization controls many of the annual and perennial weeds present in California. While some weed species seeds or plant parts are very sensitive to soil solarization, others are moderately resistant and require optimum conditions for control (good soil moisture, tight-fitting plastic, and high solar radiation). Solarization generally does not control perennial weeds as well as annual weeds because perennials often have deeply buried underground vegetative structures such as roots and rhizomes that may resprout. Rhizomes of bermudagrass and johnsongrass may be controlled by solarization if they are not deeply buried. Solarization alone is not effective for the control of the rhizomes of field bindweed. Control of purple and yellow nutsedge, as well as field bindweed arising from rhizomes and some clovers, can be inconsistent, even under favorable conditions.

Check out their full Solarization Article
Jeffrey Hodgins


Joined: Nov 14, 2011
Posts: 166
Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
The Idea of a solarization will most likely not work for the roots but if you add steam like they do in greenhouses that will penatrate deeper and get all seeds and roots, unless you are dealing with the big stem bramuda wich has roots up to 16 inches deep. In a greenhouse we use a boiler to pump steem in underthe tarp may be more difficult for you at home. I control bermuda grass in 2 ways at home, by covering with fresh manure or by working the top layer of soil and then pitch forking the roots out. If you work the soil too deep the roots will be buried and grow back. By using manure the grass will grow back but due to the fertility other plants will have an edge over the grass. Adding fertility tends to make useful plants compete allot better with non-useful ones.

I'll tell you a story about it. One time I had huge pile of bean pods and I put them where the bramuda grass was. The beans that were leftover in the pods grew along with squash. The sheep ripped it all apart about 3 times during the season so I counted it as a loss. It ended up producing copious amounts and the grass did not move back in until 3 years later after most of the carbon nitrogen phosphorus and sulfur were gone.


Diversified Food forest maker . Fill every niche and you'll have less weeds (the weeds are the crop too). Fruit, greens, wild harvest, and nuts as staple. Food processing and preservation are key to self self-sufficiency. Never eat a plant without posetive identification and/or consulting an expert.
Alder Burns
pollinator

Joined: Feb 25, 2012
Posts: 789
Location: northern California
    
  20
I'm dealing with bermuda here too. In Georgia, where we used to live, I simply had to sheetmulch everything, every year, and then plant through it. I was able to live with it and grow food anyway. It really needs some summer moisture, so here I'm trying to sheetmulch an area solid for two summers and not plant anything there and see if I can wear it out. I don't see it thriving just in the broader landscape here. I think maybe if one can just keep away from summer irrigation for a couple of years, that might be enough to subdue it. If you've got permanent plants you need to water, perhaps sheetmulch around these and let the rest dry out?


Alder Burns (adiantum)
Alder Burns
pollinator

Joined: Feb 25, 2012
Posts: 789
Location: northern California
    
  20
Bermuda also doesn't like full shade. So if you get your food forest stuff up and good and dense, say by planting through sheetmulch, the vigor of the bermuda will decline over time to the point where handpulling a few sprigs now and then will be all that's needed.... Same with the front....just plant real densely. But I would try to give it a year under cardboard, without water, to weaken it first....
Steve Page


Joined: May 19, 2012
Posts: 7
I have a similar problem in central Florida. My grass in front lawn (about 20 x60 and another area 20 by 20) is not Bermuda grass but is some kind of crab grass I would call it. It is thin and grows like St Augustine but looks nothing like it because it is so thin and survives without much water. Not sure of actual name but want to buy some St Augustine pieces and sorta make my own plugs. Not sure how to cut up a square of St Augustine effectively. Trying to save money rather than buy expensive plugs. So I don't want to use chemicals either to kill the crab type of grass and I want to replace with St. Augustine but budget is tight.

I thought maybe use plastic to kill off areas and then plug it with St. Augustine. Then use a propane torch (bought but not used yet) to kill off anything else wanting to grow in the area until the St. Augustine can take over.

Any thoughts on this would be helpful.

Also, after the St. Augustine is in what do I do to protect it from the chinch bugs. I found having lawns before they eventually make there way into your yard. I want to kill them off to protect my investment in my lawn but do not want to use chemicals.

Any thoughts on that as well.

The other area of concern is the different deceases you grass can develop so I need help reading about that stuff too. Because that can kill your investment too.

I just don't want to end up where I began in a couple of years.
Please someone help me.
 
 
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