• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

permaculture and "invasive grasses"  RSS feed

 
Jonathan Kandell
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm new to permaculture so please excuse if this question has been answered a million times previously.

I was curious on the permaculture view about invasive non-native grasses.

In my Tucson yard I routinely remove any bermuda grass, which shows up all over the place, leaving most other weeds. But in so doing am I removing a great humus maker and soil conditioner?

 
Celia Revel
Posts: 81
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are some pros about bermuda that's for sure. Here in California, non native grasses are destroying native habitats. I can't grow wildflowers unless I remove all the foxtail because it will kill the tiny flowers through competition. We have a lot of bermuda as well, and I can't have it anywhere near a vegetable garden, or it will take over in short time. I used to have a live and let live philosophy towards non natives until I realized what they do to natives, and isn't natives a part of the permaculture plan? Grow what has adapted to the environment as your base?
 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1257
Location: Denver, CO
21
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, the invasive plants sure are adapted! Whether they are useful or not is another question.
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 704
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
18
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
is the only reason it is being pulled out is because it is non native? non native is a strange term imo - it seems to me like some people want the original plants to remain - without acknowledging that the environment that these plants thrive is has been changed.
"invasive" is only a matter of perspective - usually a govt assigned term.

if the grass grows with no help, whats the problem?
maybe it is just prepping the ground for a later succession of plants.

just trying to add some other perspective to things
 
Michael Bush
Posts: 33
Location: Sacramento
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bermuda is evil but can be eradicated, I find using a potatoe fork is a great tool for digging it up. Loosen the soil a bit with the fork and THEN pull, you get most of the root that way. I have even done the sifting of soil through a screen to get rid of it. As many have said, in a garden, it takes over, shades out food producing plant and offers nothing in return. For those who hand wring over pulling it out, just pretend monsanto invented it.

Nutgrass is even worse and much harder to eradicate but the same technique works.

Its rare that you can eliminate it entirely but you can reduce it to the point where you can garden effectively without those taking over.

I find most who find kind things to say about things like Bermuda do most of their gardening with electrons rather than dirt.
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 704
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
18
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael Bush wrote:
I find most who find kind things to say about things like Bermuda do most of their gardening with electrons rather than dirt.

would seem where you garden has a lot to do with it.

i would love to have grasses that grow with 0 work. i find it hard to believe that there are NO uses for the grass, but i dont have any experience with it, so i can say for sure.
i wouldnt be pulled roots out of the ground, as i thought the goal was the opposite. once the ground can hold more water and the mineral cycle is working again, i suspect these 'invasive' grasses will be out competed.

maybe the problem is the solution?
 
Bill Bradbury
pollinator
Posts: 684
Location: Richmond, Utah
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael Bush wrote:Bermuda is evil but can be eradicated, I find using a potatoe fork is a great tool for digging it up. Loosen the soil a bit with the fork and THEN pull, you get most of the root that way. I have even done the sifting of soil through a screen to get rid of it. As many have said, in a garden, it takes over, shades out food producing plant and offers nothing in return. For those who hand wring over pulling it out, just pretend monsanto invented it.

Nutgrass is even worse and much harder to eradicate but the same technique works.

Its rare that you can eliminate it entirely but you can reduce it to the point where you can garden effectively without those taking over.

I find most who find kind things to say about things like Bermuda do most of their gardening with electrons rather than dirt.


Long before I gardened with electrons(I just started), I fought the "invasive" grasses and "weeds", then I learned about succession and started to see that the soil determines what will grow not the plants. So' I nourished the entire soil food web and voila, no more weed problems. I still have the same "invasive weeds" but they are not dominant and have their own place in my suburban ecosystem.
The real question here is; how do I improve my soil enough to provide balanced health for all beings including the non-natives like myself.
 
Michael Bush
Posts: 33
Location: Sacramento
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bill, you should write an article on that as i am sure Sunset would feature it on the front cover! In our community garden alone we have entire plots taken over by bermuda and nutgrass. I guess lots of mushroom compost and cover cropping isn't enough to make our soil as good as yours must be. What is your secret?
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1275
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do not have bermuda grass but I do have some sort of grass growing all over my berms. I've left it. At this point something is better than nothing.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6146
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
192
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are mountains of free horse manure available in my area. I have passed it up, mostly because I don't want to bring exotic grass seed home. Horses are often fed hay that is brought across the mountains from Alberta.
 
Bill Bradbury
pollinator
Posts: 684
Location: Richmond, Utah
32
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael Bush wrote:Bill, you should write an article on that as i am sure Sunset would feature it on the front cover! In our community garden alone we have entire plots taken over by bermuda and nutgrass. I guess lots of mushroom compost and cover cropping isn't enough to make our soil as good as yours must be. What is your secret?

My "secret" is what everybody on this site seems to already know; tillage even with a fork will bring the bermuda/crab/quack grass. Stop the tilling!
The other reason that my soil is "so good", biodiversity. I grow more food for the wild critters than for ourselves! Sometimes there are 100's of birds on our little 1/2 acre right downtown, gorging themselves on seeds, nuts and fruit right alongside our little flock of chickens. I also grow many kinds of mushrooms which digest my tree trimmings for me as well as provide food. Vegetables are actually the least of what I grow.
Free your mind and your garden will follow!
 
Travis Krause
Posts: 26
Location: D'Hanis, Texas
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jonathan Kandell wrote:I'm new to permaculture so please excuse if this question has been answered a million times previously.

I was curious on the permaculture view about invasive non-native grasses.

In my Tucson yard I routinely remove any bermuda grass, which shows up all over the place, leaving most other weeds. But in so doing am I removing a great humus maker and soil conditioner?



Jonathan,

Here is southwest Texas Bermuda grass is also a common non-native, invasive grass species. It has been planted anywhere and everywhere. It survives the most harsh conditions, including severe overgrazing. The people that have posted previously on this post about removing invasive grasses clearly haven't dealt with Bermuda grass. You can pick at with a garden fork all you want. Leave one piece of root behind and it will grow back. Leave a pile of grass on top of the soil it will not die, it will simply root again. Increase the fertility of your soil it will grow stronger. Bermuda grass is no joke and for those that aren't familiar with it they need to study it's natural history beginning with the Serengeti in Africa.

My recommendation is simply learning to live with it. Around your plants mulch the hell out of them and pull what you can by hand. If you create enough shade via cover cropping, trees, veggies, etc... it will not be able to compete. My observations conclude that Bermuda grass doesn't like shade. It loves growing in the full sun when the weather is 110 F. Around your garden (once it is fully removed) build a chicken run. They will pound the hell out of the soil, but it will keep the grass from creeping into your garden area.

Good luck! I've been fighting it for 15+ years and you aren't going to win. Best advice is learn to cope with it just like anything else.

,Travis Krause

 
There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those that understand binary get this tiny ad:
Learn, Design, Teach, & Inspire with Permaculture games.
FoodForestCardGame.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!