• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
stewards:
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Beau Davidson
  • Jay Angler
  • John F Dean
  • Nancy Reading
gardeners:
  • thomas rubino
  • Casie Becker
  • Mike Barkley

Removing kikuyu from established gardens

 
Posts: 16
Location: Gippsland, Victoria
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We moved away from our house for a couple of years and came back to find it's less garden and more 'raised Kikuyu lawn with occasionally visible brick edging'. Round up isn't an option, hand weeding has been somewhat successful, does anyone have a success story on this kind of situation? Or pointers? Encouragement? It's kind of daunting.

We have 2 and a half acres in eastern Victoria, (Australia), so no snow, but I'm hoping the cooler weather coming will slow the grass down a bit. I've focused on removing any visible above ground bits and as much underground as possible. All new planting will be annuals for a couple of years so I can redig after each crop comes out and catch any runners. I'm working a bed at a time - the current one is 20m by 5m, bordered by the driveway on one long side and paddock on the other, only half badly overrun. It was a mix of citrus, herbs, flowers and vegies. The rest are/were smaller but have no delineated edges right now and were fruit trees, grapes, vegies and herbs.. We didn't have this much kikuyu before but there was a horse with access everywhere and it seems to have eaten everything else.

There are some parts I can dig a trench to cut off the roots and cover with plastic, but a lot of it is in the mixed orchard/forest garden in progress. The trees will eventually shade the grass out, but most are only 4 or 5 years old and not doing too well with the grass around them. We dug out a couple of small citrus and found kikyuy all through the root ball. It's possible to remove from those size trees but the bigger ones, not so much.

On the bright side, I can do a complete redesign of the garden because anything moveable is being moved while the grass comes out.

So, anyone else dealt with this and won?

 
pollinator
Posts: 112
Location: New Zealand
22
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kikuyu is great out in the pasture in a dry summer, but I agree, not so great in the garden! I'm in the same situation, it's growing under/through my citrus trees.  ON the bright side, kikuyu is a great plant for building soil organic matter and fertility... you can see where I'm going with that comment! I don't think eradicating it is viable, any piece of root left will grow. I suggest outcompeting it. Heavy mulching helps, sure the rhizomes grow under the  mulch and you feed the kikuyu well, but it is slowed down enough that the tree usually gets going too. If you have water for the tree, all the better. Pulling up the grass and fermenting it in water then using it as a fertilizer seems to make the tree grow well too. Kikuyu has deep roots and reasonably good levels of macros like N., and some TE. Eventually you can shade kikuyu out, but this will also shade the fruit trees. Unfortunately my experience is learn to live with it. Even the chemical people find it hard to control with spraying.  

My climate is very similar to Orbost, I find kikuyu slows down enough this time of year that it's benefits ultimately outweigh it's disadvantages.
 
Leiari Locky
Posts: 16
Location: Gippsland, Victoria
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We do have absolutely lovely soil under the bits that have already come out! So there is a plus to it.

I have a couple of old baths for water that I could ferment it in, and a barrel, how long is enough to kill it so that I can safely compost it? I don't trust my heap to get hot enough to deal with it otherwise. So far it's been piled on bare spots in the paddock and left to dry - at least if it survives and roots there I have grass where it's useful.
 
pollinator
Posts: 961
Location: Ashhurst New Zealand
284
duck trees chicken cooking wood heat woodworking homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ben's got the right prescription here, I think. Slow it down and control the spread where you don't want it. A drowning barrel would work but those fat stems would need months underwater to make sure they're dead and rotting.

We cut and toss problematic grasses out on the paddock and that has worked well. Corrugated iron can help you get on top of thick patches, or you could go with cardboard and wood chips.

No kikuyu on our property yet, but I've seen it in the district, so I'm glad I've got a bush blade for the scythe. It is a decent source of biomass in hot summers when everything else goes dormant.
 
Leiari Locky
Posts: 16
Location: Gippsland, Victoria
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'll start some experiments with the water then.

Actually, when it comes to compost tea, can I just, say, use a 1000 litre tank, fill it with green stuff, add water, sit for x amount of time, let some out (it's an old calf feed container with a tap in the bottom and hole in the top) dilute, use and just continue adding more grass and water? That's a thing people have been doing forever isn't it? I have other herbs and weeds I can add, so it wouldn't just be Kikuyu. 95% Kikuyu, but not all...  

That would shift it completely from problem to bonus fertiliser. The problem is the solution and all.
Google has a few results that suggest six weeks till it's ready to use, so a two month fertilising schedule seems feasible.

I also remember one of Peter Andrews books suggesting mulching Kikuyu with Kikuyu would help control it. Long term probably but I have the time and space to try lots of things.
 
Ben Waimata
pollinator
Posts: 112
Location: New Zealand
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You're not making compost tea this method, more like an anaerobic sludge... but it still works!  There are usable nutrients extracted from the decaying organic matter within 48 hours of first soaking it, I would not worry about timing, just do it, and bung in anything organic matter that's lying around. If you've got a patch of pristine native bush anywhere near go and grab some forest mulch and bung it in to your tank for extra indigenous microbes.  It's the equivalent of how nature lets organic matter die on the surface, then the breaking down nutrients are washed into the soil profile by rain etc, you're just shortcutting the process.   If you have a watering system you could consider setting up a venturi or similar directly into the tank and take some liquid out every time you water. Turn your weeds into an asset.

Very dry here this year, about 20% of usual rainfall to date. The kikuyu still looks lush and growing well while the temperate grasses are brown and inactive. This is an underappreciated grass.
 
Posts: 90
Location: Cape Town
23
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I hate Kikuyu. It's a &^%*%$! invasive weed brought here by ignorant people. My 2.5. acre farm is overrun with it. I recently had to leave for six months and came back to find it climbing the roses. And like a flash I had a vision of what my gardening life would be without this nuisance. I hear there are lands where people just plant things and don't spend the rest of their lives keeping them free of invaders. Goodness..
My problem was that the first fifteen years here, I planned the whole space, and tried to follow the plan except where nature objected ( which was pretty much most of the time, lol :) ). So I had trees all over the place, and growing vegetable beds around them to feed the trees. This led to innumerable squares of cultivated soil, each with borders that had to be kept free of Kikuyu. I employed a man who spent at least half his week dojng this. I found a few barrier plants (Sunflowers, indigenous garlic, vetiver where enough water) but even these could not hold their own without a regular cleanup. It was crazy. When it rained in winter it was like a race to keep up.

Well, now the trees are big and I have diagnosed my Kikuyu as an indicator of an ecological imbalance. I am saving for a fence so that 2/3 of the place can be grazed by sheep. They will at least keep it short. Then I am doing what I should have done from the beginning: working outward from the house I am eradicating every last bit. It gets thrown into a big pile and will get covered with cardboard for a year. The borders get covered in cardboard and brick, which actually lets it kill itself. Bit by bit I will start expanding the cardboard boundary and have a zero tolerance policy within it.  Where it is invading house foundations and breaking up concrete I pour with vinegar. With the roses and other living plants there is no alternative but handweeding and vigilance. I don't like to declare war on anything but unfortunately my neighbours are all overrun too, so there will never be an end to policing boundaries. Hopefully the sheep will take care of most of that leaving me with only my eastern side to police.

If anybody has additional advice on how to conduct total extermination, please let me know? Would be nice if the grandkids could do something else with their life.
 
I am Arthur, King of the Britons. And this is a tiny ad:
1st edition of Living Wood Magazine--Now free for a while
https://permies.com/wiki/150455/st-edition-Living-Wood-Magazine
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic