Aaron McCarty wrote:I'd prefer not to use it either. Maybe I could just solarize large swathes and then boarder growing areas with green manures like clover, vetch, comfrey? On another thread here I fond after I posted this I came to the conclusion that I'd just focus on planting fruit trees and perennial next season and just let the trees choke out the grass. Plus I'm going to integrate some hugelkulture beds...but my plan is still up in the air. What I do know is that I've got to get rid of this grass somehow (pretty sure it's bermuda...but I've always called it crab grass, it's rhizomous and it sucks). I've got several compost piles that are ate up with it now as are my beds.
This last season was the first time I've tried growing here. It's compacted clay with grass and some hardy weeds growing. I tilled in horse poo with a walk behind tiller and planted. Annuals grew great but the grass slowly dominated. It's relentless. I'm not trying to fight crab grass which is why I'm willing to resort to land scape fabric...whatever works at this point. Plus I have a lot of it and my tiller is broken (it's old and I had to have it worked on 3 times last summer). So question is, if you're not going to till, and your not going to use landscape fabric, than how are you going to garden in grass short of digging it all out and losing all of that soil. Then you either have to find a way to make a lot of your own soil, or buy it, and you never know what you are going to get when you import soil/compost from elsewhere. It's a lot of catch 22's. I just want to grow food, not grass. I'd love to integrate goats, but that's not going to happen. I've got chickens, but after a full season this grass is still growing in parts of their run. I thought about digging infiltration swales around the beds and filling with mulch, but as I have said I've got a cypress mulch pile with this stuff thriving in it.
So I agree landscape fabric sucks, as does tilling, but both are better than nothing. I'll probably end up doing some combination of all of the above.
Mike Turner wrote:Bermuda grass is also a strong competitor for perennials, especially when trying to establish fruit trees in an area infested with Bermuda grass. It is also bad in an asparagus bed, although with this crop you can lightly salt the soil to diminish the vigorousness of the grass and other weeds.
Marco Banks wrote:One thing I've found is that by smothering it with heavy mulch, while it doesn't get rid of it, it becomes easier and easier to spot and pull out.
Throughout my orchard/integrated food forest, I have dumped hundreds of wheelbarrow loads of wood chips. When the crab grass emerges, its much easier to pull out now as opposed to 17 years ago when I first started to develop this land. Pretty much any week just pops right out now because the soil is so friable and loose. I've never completely eliminated it but I'd say that I've gotten rid of 98% of it. As I walk around, if I see it, I yank it out.
Give your attention to building your soil. Continue to add biomass any way you can, and you'll find that your crab grass problem will fade as the years pass, partly because you'll find it so much easier to root it all out.
Mulch, for me, is seemingly the answer to just about every garden question.