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Composting Bermuda  RSS feed

 
A. M. Watters
Posts: 21
Location: Central Texas, Edwards Plateau
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So, I'm a composting n00b and we put a bunch of what we thought was dead Bermuda grass in our new compost bin...and now it's growing. Damn zombie grass! I was planning on using this compost in a new keyhole garden bed in the spring...but this grass is intractable. What should I do? Dump it out somewhere and start over? Put it in the very bottom of a hugelkulture? See if the nuclear waste people can take it off my hands?
 
John Elliott
pollinator
Posts: 2392
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Two syllable solution: bio-char

Put it in a metal container with a few holes poked in it, light a fire under it, and a couple hours later you will have Bermuda-char to put in your garden. I can guarantee that won't sprout.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3902
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
157
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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I have never been around burmuda grass, but I would think it would compost if the compost got hot enough?
If not ,then that is some crazy tough stuff. What does it do naturally? Is it always growing? Does it ever go through a dormant period ?
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
17
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I put all of my monster weeds, ivy and grass in black plastic bags for a season - preferably in the sun.

I saw this done in Germany - they had massive mounds of beets in fields over the winter covered in black plastic (it scared the horses half to death). Between the freeze/thaw/sun, by the time spring rolled around it was just black crumbly stuff and they spread it on the fields.

My method works the same but in much smaller amounts.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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A. M. Watters wrote:So, I'm a composting n00b and we put a bunch of what we thought was dead Bermuda grass in our new compost bin...and now it's growing. Damn zombie grass! I was planning on using this compost in a new keyhole garden bed in the spring...but this grass is intractable. What should I do? Dump it out somewhere and start over? Put it in the very bottom of a hugelkulture? See if the nuclear waste people can take it off my hands?


"Zombie Grass" - truer words have never been spoken!!

I have fought the "Battle of Bermuda" for 15 years now and I STILL have some that sneaks in as spies under my fence from the neighbors (by stolon and rhizome) or parachutes in from the neighbors down the street who don't mow it frequently enough to take down the seed heads..... It's enough to make you crazy.

I've tried:
--digging it out
--solarizing it during summer
--getting it growing really well and then spraying with Roundup (see my increasing desperation here) - then bioremediating with uptake plants (chard in my case) - only to have to repeat the process.

I've made the mistake of putting it into compost bins (where it lies dormant until I spread the compost out) and I thougth to mulch with some dried Bermuda once upon a time that I thought was surely dead as it had been sitting in an open black garbage can for months. It grew back.

I have heard of people being successful with Jeanine's method before although I have not tried it. Burning it would probably work too but I know in my area, due to air pollution, burning is not an option.

Bermuda is designed to survive no matter what you do to it. Don't water it and it simply delves deeper. My neighbor found Bermuda roots down the 10 ft when she had her pool dug. There are other reports of finding them at 30 ft.

My own personal choice is to throw out any Bermuda I may come across in my yard. I hate to, as I am big into taking responsibility for your own waste stream but I've been burned by the "zombie grass" too many times to trust it hanging around! One thing it doesn't seem to like is shade.

I'm convinced, that in the end times, cockroaches, twinkies and Bermuda grass will rule the planet.
 
A. M. Watters
Posts: 21
Location: Central Texas, Edwards Plateau
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:

I'm convinced, that in the end times, cockroaches, twinkies and Bermuda grass will rule the planet.


Hahaha! You are right!

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. Bio char is really intriguing, however I believe we are still under a burn ban in our neighborhood...maybe I could do it on the grill? I guess worst case scenario, I could dig down a foot to the rock layer and bury it, build a shed on top of it, and make it some alien archaeologist's problem one day in the future.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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We compost Bermuda grass here. Our piles are very large and hot. 200 cubic yards to start with and reaches temps of 170f for weeks on end. Forest based wood chips as the main part of the pile followed by vegative matter. Including seeded star thistle, crab grass, Bermuda, and a few more nasty plants. The piles have to get very hot and turned regularly ( every 2-3 days) to be ok. Early on we had small piles and turned less, sometimes we had some root, but it was easy to pull out.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Jordan - that's great to know. I think our green waste program here in Phoenix takes grass - they have similarly large piles. I just hate to think of good green waste going to....waste.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3902
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
157
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
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Jordan, so the heat of a good compost will kill it?
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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It will get hot enough in a good compost pile, but most backyard piles are not guaranteed big and hot

My solution with zombie weeds is to ferment them. Left in a 5 gallon bucket submerged in water they won't last. The water will have a pongy stench to it but the grass will be dead
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Matu Collins wrote:My solution with zombie weeds is to ferment them. Left in a 5 gallon bucket submerged in water they won't last. The water will have a pongy stench to it but the grass will be dead

I've made barrels of weed soup and judging from the stench it's extremely anaerobic: I'd generally want to put it through the compost rather than straight on the garden.
Try not to get it on your skin or clothes. The smell is pretty noxious!
Also, make sure the zombie weeds have definitely decayed. Some plants can look well and truly dead, but...also their seeds can last for ages in water.
This thread might be helpful.
 
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