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Bermuda grass removal idea

 
Justin Clark
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I have two large plots on a lot here in Kentucky. Both were plowed with a walk-behind last fall, and one was over-seeded with winter rye.

I've been working the non-seeded plot by hand, digging and pulling out the still-green wigs of bermuda grass that lie a few inches below the surface. This is painstaking and takes a long long time, but seems to be working pretty well.

In the other plot, the rye I seeded last year is growing vigorously. I've cut it once with a lawnmower, when it was about a foot tall. I plan to mow it at least once more, maybe twice. I mow so that the clippings cover the areas where the rye did not establish. It's my understanding that mowing will promote root growth, and also that rye has an allelopathic effect on some other plants, bermuda grass being one of those. After another month or so, I plan to till in the rye, and may plant another cover, eg buckwheat/cowpeas.

My hope is that shade from the rye, heavy rye root growth, the allelopathic effect of the rye clippings, and eventual tillage of the whole plant will greatly reduce the amount of bermuda grass in the plot. I've not found any account of this method being tried before. Has anyone here done such a thing? Any idea if it might work?

Thanks!
 
Jordan Lowery
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what are your long term goals for that spot, bermuda is easy to get rid of.i use a method similar to yours. the thing is its preferred that a no till regime comes after this, because that will bring conditions for the Bermuda again. going from Bermuda to perennial plantings is easier than Bermuda to a veggie garden. possible but not as easy.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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I think it depends on where you are. Here in Phoenix, Bermuda is our summer lawn (for those with lawns) and rye is the winter lawn. If anything, overseeding with rye seems to help Bermuda grow in the summer. I've tried to eradicate Bermuda from my property for over 15 years and I still have some here and there (mostly wherever there's more water). It is the bane of the food growers existence in Southern AZ. Freakish zombie grass!! Perhaps it is easier to get rid of in more humid climates like your own?
 
John Elliott
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote: Perhaps it is easier to get rid of in more humid climates like your own?


Yes. Both bermuda grass and bindweed are minor weeds in my garden, whereas under different conditions they could be major headaches. I find that if I do a little extra thorough weeding when I see them first starting to show up, I can get ahead of them, and then the competition from the other things I do want to grow in the garden will take care of the rest.

 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Justin Clark wrote:I have two large plots on a lot here in Kentucky. Both were plowed with a walk-behind last fall, and one was over-seeded with winter rye.

I've been working the non-seeded plot by hand, digging and pulling out the still-green wigs of bermuda grass that lie a few inches below the surface. This is painstaking and takes a long long time, but seems to be working pretty well.

In the other plot, the rye I seeded last year is growing vigorously. I've cut it once with a lawnmower, when it was about a foot tall. I plan to mow it at least once more, maybe twice. I mow so that the clippings cover the areas where the rye did not establish. It's my understanding that mowing will promote root growth, and also that rye has an allelopathic effect on some other plants, bermuda grass being one of those. After another month or so, I plan to till in the rye, and may plant another cover, eg buckwheat/cowpeas.

My hope is that shade from the rye, heavy rye root growth, the allelopathic effect of the rye clippings, and eventual tillage of the whole plant will greatly reduce the amount of bermuda grass in the plot. I've not found any account of this method being tried before. Has anyone here done such a thing? Any idea if it might work?

Thanks!


I have done this with some success. Our bermuda goes dormant in the fall...not the roots I think, but the grass itself is brown. I seeded one area heavily with rye grass and let it go to seed and then reseeded for two years. I didn't cut it, just let it lodge when it wanted and lay there as mulch until i reseeded on top. Two years later I don't see any sign of bermuda and am more hopeful planting that space.
What I like even better though is a mix of both rye grass and vetch. I am leaving things to grow for two seasons at least to be sure and because I have the space. I am not even cutting it back at all. The area in the picture also has tansy and some comfrey and a few persimmons are showing up. I have put a few more 'invasive' things from a plant exchange there...almost anything but bermuda is OK with me. i think you are correct, Justin, about shading it out...I think it just takes more than one season. My vetch patches were planted last fall son hopefully I can plant there next summer.
flowers 029.jpg
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rye grass, tansey, vetch
flowers 027.jpg
[Thumbnail for flowers 027.jpg]
rye grass, vetch
 
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