• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Bermuda grass in a food forest?

 
mark andrews
Posts: 54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Can I do a food forest with a floor of bermuda, or will it prevent other things from growing?

I have 2.5 acres and it would be a full time job trying to kill bermuda.
All the cardboard and wood-chips in the world wouldn't touch it in the time I have available.

So, what if I just embrace it?
Can I just have a nice carpet of 10 inch tall bermuda and plant things in it?

This approach won't appear very neat and well kept, but will it work?
 
Asaf Green
Posts: 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What is a "bermuda" ?

mark andrews wrote:Can I do a food forest with a floor of bermuda, or will it prevent other things from growing?
 
Kelby Taylor
Posts: 47
Location: SE Pennsylvania, USA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have some bermuda grass amongst my lawn, it doesn't seem to be a particularly strong competitor when shade gets heavier. I'd expect as the plantings mature the grass will become less and less, but you will want to provide a spot that is grass free for each planting so they can grow well without any trouble. When the plantings are still young you'll need to keep the grass cleared from the plants you want or they will not perform as well.

What I would try doing is any place where you intend to plant, use your lawnmower to scalp the grass on the lower setting possible (without ruining the mower), then do cardboard and chips at each planting site. A roughly 3'x3' patch should be OK for most plantings. The grass will creep back into the chips, but I doubt it will take over the whole area again.

Just make sure neighbors or local government won't care that you have long grass!
 
mark andrews
Posts: 54
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here if you water, bermuda grows.
I was wanting to just go with the flow and let nature take it's course, but I think it may choke out many smaller plants.

I was at a neighbors house today and he pointed down a long mound and said "this used to be the most productive asparagus bed you've ever seen".
I asked what happened. He said "bermuda moved in".


 
Aljaz Plankl
Posts: 384
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bermuda will let other wild plants in if you don't cut it.
Natural succession.
Lots of wild useful plants will come by themselves if you don't cut and just let it grow, where you don't have time or energy to maintain.
So you go with the flow of nature to plant some guilds for you.

I think starting in smaller area would be better, something like half an acre for planting of the canopy of trees.
For shrubs and ground covers concentrate on even smaller area, let say 500m2 or smaller.
Once plants get a good start it's hard for anything to outcompete them again, with a bit of management.
When you got your 200m2 established you move on.
You will see how long it will take you, maybe one year will be enough.
Canopy you can probably plant new half an acre each year.
Well, everything is relative, but you get the idea.

But take care for the planted trees, give them a good mulch and take out as much roots of bermuda when planting trees and then weed in the first year.
That's why it's easier to start "somewhere", to concentrate there, especialy with shrub and groundcover layer.
And plant in clumps as much as possible in shrub and groundcover area, so plants are stronger and faster in covering the ground.
 
Erin Zosu
Posts: 16
Location: Texas
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello Mark,
Anything is possible even with bermuda grass. I was able to work with my bermuda while growing some cantaloupe. Believe it or not I harvested 45 cantaloupe from 9 plants even while they were growing in a sea of bermuda grass. I refused to move the cantaloupe vines because the movement would disrupt the plants growth. Since I didn't move the vines I couldn't cut the bermuda grass with the mower or weed eater. So I decided to let the two compete with each other. The cantaloupe vines started growing above the bermuda grass. I had cantaloupes in the grass and on the wire mesh fence fabric I had nailed to my wooden privacy fence. I have attached a few photos so you get an idea. Although the pictures don't show it. I later planted three peach trees and one apple tree in the middle of the yard. They did quite well. I also planted chamomile around the base of each tree together with basil. I just don't have those pictures available.
20060622-Garden 06006.JPG
[Thumbnail for 20060622-Garden 06006.JPG]
20060622-Garden 06005.JPG
[Thumbnail for 20060622-Garden 06005.JPG]
20060710-Garden 06009.JPG
[Thumbnail for 20060710-Garden 06009.JPG]
 
Erin Zosu
Posts: 16
Location: Texas
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Picture of cantaloupe growing on the fence...I counted five in that photo.
20060730-Garden 06003.JPG
[Thumbnail for 20060730-Garden 06003.JPG]
 
chris cromeens
Posts: 61
Location: north texas 7b now 8a
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Shade is the only thing I have found, noway can you dig all rhizomes, they go 7 feet down. Plant living mulch on any soil you expose, sweet potato has worked for me. Plant densely to create a rootmass that keeps the bermuda at bay. If you put all the layers of food forest in at one time it can out compete the bermuda. I didn't, just put in a skeleton of a food forest in and am now over grown w/bermuda. Attacking it this winter w/ daikon radish and clover/vetch. Here the radish overwinter, the clover/vetch come on before the bermuda and supress it's growth. In the spring underseed w/ pigeon pea and cowpea. Sunflowers can outcompete and planted 15" apart shade out. Gotta attack from all angle and all season
 
Andi Houston
Posts: 15
Location: Gainesville, FL
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I dug trenches, sheetmulched heavily with cardboard and fresh chipped trees, wherever the bermuda grass doesn't come up through it, it just sprawls across the top. I've mostly given up pulling it out, I would spend hours and hours pulling it out and digging it out just to pull it all out again in two weeks. I just keep piling wood chip mulch over top of it and hoping that eventually the other layers will shade/crowd it out.

If you define "weed" as "any plant growing where you don't want it", then GRASS is by far my worst weed.
 
After burning through the drip stuff and the french press stuff, Paul has the last, ever, coffee maker. Better living through buying less crap.
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic