• 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 the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • James Freyr
  • Mike Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • paul wheaton
garden masters:
  • Greg Martin
  • Steve Thorn
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
  • Mike Barkley

destroying bermuda/crab grass

Posts: 67
Location: north texas 7b now 8a
fish fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
bermuda is a warm season perennial, so I use overwintering grains and clovers as cover this keeps the bermuda from coming up until late spring early summer by which time the spring garden is established if not establishing annual gardens I would under seed w/ fast growing summer grains and legumes.
Posts: 1102
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
hugelkultur forest garden hunting chicken food preservation bee
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jim, I have a mix of crabgrass, Bermuda and cool-season grass in a field that wanted to convert to something more useful. I would encourage you to see where the Bermuda is living and where better species predominate if anywhere. I observed on my field a near-absence of Bermuda and crab in areas where there is seasonal cover from trees. The center of the bare field is infested. I have the soil samples that also suggest a lack of organic matter and calcium, with a very low (4.9) pH. I have looked at the spacing that appears to be optimal and it is around 30' between tree trunks, with about 50% summer sun transmitted. I would hasten that your situation may be different. The equation here is that Bermuda and crabgrass (Crabgrass>>Bermuda) provides no useful cover for most of the year, depleting the organic matter component and soil life, are allelopathic to more desirable species, and creating optimal conditions for themselves. Their weakness is the requirement for high soil temperatures for optimal growth and high sunlight in the middle of summer/early fall. I also added dolomitic lime, hopefully only once as I should have organic matter and soil web to prevent leaching pretty shortly.

My plan is to alleycrop in between rows of shade producers at that interval, with southern exposure kept intact for optimal cool-weather grass production (for the livestock). I think you can get seedlings from the state department of forestry pretty reasonably in NC. Here I am installing mulberry, redbud, hazelnut, bicolor lespedeza, hickory, oak, some random impulse buys and donations, and maybe black locust (have had it in my order basket and removed about 4 times!) in a hedgerow with a 30' gap between rows. As they get bigger I will thin them, the trees are about a dollar per seedling, and I am planting them every six feet. You can always replace with more desired species at a later time. Each seedling gets a double cardboard sheet mulch and wood chips on top which won't prevent Bermuda but may buy some time. I have a huge number of logs from an area of dying pines, and I am just making a wall of wood on the uphill side of the seedlings to trap and infiltrate moisture. My experience is that Bermuda will transit an area of mycorrhizal culture but doesn't thrive there. Eventually the shade will prevent the Bermuda and crabgrass from having optimal growing conditions of high ground temperature (since they are both C4 grasses) and the stuff I prefer will predominate. You will have a hard time with annuals that thrive in baking sun in a partial shade situation but it is more productive than Bermuda. I had modest success in NC with 50% cover with tomatoes but overall not a very productive garden there once the Bermuda found it. Mulch did make it possible to pull out handfuls and prevent a total takeover. If I were to do it over again I would basically do perennials and sweet potatoes in NC (sandhills, your milage may vary).    

I have raised beds that so far are not invaded. But who knows how long that will hold!

Hit up a bunch of tree services, you may be able to get wood chips for free. If you have an area you can CLEARLY mark out that they can dump chips anytime you may get lucky. Do it in Spanish too BTW! I also have chipped a ton of stuff but it was more because I had no place to fell dying pines without removing the sweetgum thicket, clearing/chipping to make it look nice is unfortunately short-lived. You are right that buying chips is cheaper than chipping. I use about the same amount of gas moving logs around as I do with the chipper, so if I have room to make piles of logs and let them rot that is what I do. They are almost immediately covered with vines but herbivores can make that a good thing.  Slash gets burned, churned in or bushogged, you have a savannah summer in much of NC so the fire risk is very high.  
Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mt brother works for a commercial roofing company that does very large rubber roofs for hospitals, schools, etc.  The best luck I have had so far is with covering large areas with rubber roofing that I get from my brother for free when they tear it off to replace a roof.  Depending on the time of year you put it down, it can take up to a year to kill everything.  When everything under it is completely dead, I pull the rubber up and move it, and cover the area with as deep a layer of wood chips as I can, and plant the area with garden plants, a tree guild, or a cover crop.  The first times I did this, as I moved the rubber to a new area, the quack grass would move back in from the sides.  Then I would have to kill an area again.  Now when I kill off an area, I leave a border of rubber 4 or 5 feet wide all around the area I cleared to keep it from encroaching on that area again.  It seems to be working so far.  I also have an area I am experimenting with that I planted a double row of comfrey along the border.  Maybe the comfrey can keep the quack from moving back in.  I'm hoping at some point to have big open areas to plant in broken up by barriers of comfrey plants that I can either let grow all year for the bees, or chop and drop for use around other plants.  Have I mentioned that I love comfrey plants?  I started with about 6, now I have dozens.
Posts: 1296
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, apartment building, landscaping, help!
kids trees urban
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

(slow fade-in of blond boy weeding in garden, looking astonished)
blond boy: Mom, that's weird, I could have sworn I just weeded here, but there's grass all over the place. Slow fade-out).


(slow fade-in of crowd of people running along city street, pursued by shadow of what appears to be 18-f lot-high clump of grass)


(slow fade-in of completely empty field of bare dirt)
Nicholas Cage: You've created the perfect conditions for one species to come in and completely take over...


(slow fade-in, woman crouched behind barrel with machine gun and hipster)
Woman:  I don't have time to explain critical race theory to you, get in the house and find the kerosene.
(slow fade-out)


(slow fade-in of science lab)
labcoat: They're multiplying so fast, it's like they've got special adaptogens…


Circle of hippies: Maybe we've just got to, like, underSTAND the wire grass, and send it love…

(green tentacles erupt out of the ground and drag them all under)


Big white farmer: OK, hipsters, no more fucking around.  Grab the Roundup.


sociology professor: The government's been covering it up for years.


aid worker: get in the van! this is your last chance! get in the van! this is your last chance!  Mr. President, uh, yeah, i think there's another van behind us—(to driver) go go go go go go go  go!


Sepp Holzer: Paul, I'm hit, it was a setup.

Paul: Sepp! don't leave me!  

Sepp: It's up to you now, Paul, you have the codes!


white woman: Johnny, I've never felt this way about a man before…


small kid from earlier scene on top of a hill is snatched out of the reach of oncoming grass tentacles at the last second.


Nicholas Cage: The government isn't going to help us.  They're getting on a ship right now with Elon Musk.  They've sold us out to the wire grass, all of us.

cut to circle of permaculturists with hand tools in a circle facing the oncoming menace.




super-fast montage of various high-speed car chases etc.




group of survivalists in underground bunker.
"There's no way it can get through eight feet of concrete, can it?"
wiregrass roots erupt from the ground and strangle everyone.  

cut to kid pulling weeds again.  "Hm, the wires on these things are just impossible."


Posts: 3
Location: Dallas Texas
forest garden
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I found this thread looking for a way to keep the crab/wire/burmuda grass out of our yard from the neighbors yards.

I have eliminated the wire/crab/burmuda grass by about 98% in our front yard in one season simply by not caring for it, having bad soil, scalping the "lawn" applying a thick layer of heaveduty cardboard and 12+ inches of woodchips. We have 4 spots along the edges where it was thin and I just go pull the burmuda, pull back the chips, cram newspaper in there tightly, and cover it back over. the grass hasnt come back. then again this was all on 100+ degree texas heat in terrible hard clay dead soil.

My issue is, we have terrible soil that even the crab grass doesnt  hardly take hold in our backyard as well because the seller ripped out the topsoil. once i start amending, i know our neighbors lawns will try to take over, because they have in the area taht was dead before. I'm wondering if bamboo rizome barriers would prevent crabgrass seepage into our new beds. Has anybody here has success in using barriers to keep the grass from creeping from somebody elses yards?
Posts: 2931
Location: Central Texas zone 8a
cattle chicken bee sheep
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Renee, i assume you are primarily talking about bermuda that is creeping. I was amazed this year. Jaw dropped amazed.

I put a 6ft x 2ft deep cattle trough down on level ground (bottom cut out).   I filled it with peat moss and planted blueberries. It didnt take long before bermuda was coming up. It had to travel 2ft up through darkness to come up through the trough. This is in a garden expansion. The reason it blew my mind is that i surrounded the garden with concrete blocks that are 2ft x 2ft x 6ft. Thinking there is no way the bermuda can travel underneath it. It also allowed me to level the garden in a sloped area .

A solid barrier into the ground would be needed to keep the rhizomes from coming through. Bamboo might do that. Then a solid dome would be needed to keep seeds from flying in.

Sorry for the sarcasm. I spent several hours dealing with bermuda today and my hands are raw from pulling, digging, tugging.
Renee Owens
Posts: 3
Location: Dallas Texas
forest garden
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wayne we have both burmuda and crabgrass from our neighbors well tended lawns creeping into our yards. on the one side, due to their unchekd water leak.. i agree. its a huge issue, and i'm going to have to dig it all up by hand and put a double later of cardboard down and bamboo rizome weedbarrier to keep it out in the future. on our southside, the neighbor has an uncared for unwatered yard, like outs has been. and the hard compact clay has been a challenge to the most tenacious burmuda, where the crabgrass will not even grow at all. 75% of our front yard borders with our south-side neighbor and wasbarren dry, dead, lifeless, grasses soil. when little burmuda grass was clinging to life, has been covered since early may and early june and not come through the cardboard at all. even though the city has mandated we keep the woodchips drenched (because the newly about 20-something code enforcement ladies think the woodchips will explode into a roaring flame any second ::eyeroll::).  it probably has less to do with what i did and more to do with how lifeless and dead the yard was to begin with. My goal is to keep it from creeping in from the neighbors.

Now the southside neighbor i am going to secretly sow miniclover into his barren lifeless yard that borders  ours and is well on its way to being a desert.  but our northside neighbor with his waterleak has contributed to a nighbmare of tenatious crabgrass and burmuda that keeps creeping back into our yard. where the woodchip pile sate for a year in that yard, all burmuda and crabgrass has died out completely. but aroudn it, on the edges, yes it has grow right up through. but there was no cardboard barrier on that side of our driveway.

weve been here 3 years and ive been caring for sick relatives, and then my failing health and the yard has further gone into a state of permanant death. without water or care.. grass is not even growing at all. just the queen annes lace or hemlock thats taken over the entire back yard.

my main concern is keeping the neighbors well tended burmuda and crabgrases out of our yard.  i will continue to pull and smother when it pops up within our yard.

You got style baby! More than this tiny ad:
Control Garden Pests without Toxic Chemicals
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!