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Mon Mar 19, 2012, 01:36 PM

Anti-growing

I have a small garden area within a small yard. The raised part is ok, nothing but the strawberries from last year are growing there.

The ground though, seems to really want to grow things. When we moved in, the grass was 6 foot tall. We cut it back, then poisoned it with something from HD. We figured on doing some sort of ground cover to keep it gone. Soon, the grass was back. And I completely turned all the ground, restructuring a hill into a flat upper and lower space, and doing the stuff(I think it was roundup). And the grass is back It grew in over the winter, despite poison and cold and whatever else. A few weeds, but mostly grass.

How do I get rid of this? The end goal is to lay down weed cloth, a layer of pea gravel, and then paint it with moss. But that has to wait until I can afford the gravel. The internet suggested bleach in a spray bottle for a quick kill that would evaporate leaving the ground none the worse, or salt for a longer solution. I tried the bleach two days ago. The grass looks none the worse for the wear. I tried salt over in a corner a few days before that. That area also looks quite green and happy.

Is there any way to get rid of this grass without permanently poisoning the ground or spending extensive amounts of money? Or, I suppose the obvious, pulling each grass plant up by hand, which would be a pita at the best of times.

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply Anti-growing (Original post)
quakerboy Mar 2012 OP
Denninmi Mar 2012 #1
quakerboy Mar 2012 #5
HopeHoops Mar 2012 #2
quakerboy Mar 2012 #6
HopeHoops Mar 2012 #7
Curmudgeoness Mar 2012 #3
quakerboy Mar 2012 #4
Curmudgeoness Mar 2012 #8
XemaSab Mar 2012 #10
kurtzapril4 Mar 2012 #9
roody Mar 2012 #11
piedmont Mar 2012 #12
LWolf Mar 2012 #13

Response to quakerboy (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 02:01 PM

1. Well, I have a few thoughts/suggestions for you. Take them as you will.

First of all, as you say, pulling turfgrass is a PIA, because it forms mats of sod. Time consuming and obnoxious.

How big is the area? Could you once again turn it over by hand, using a fork or spade, burying the sod on the bottom? Or, would that be too much work due to the size.

Another way to go -- roundup or a similar herbicide with short duration. The reason your grass came back is because its probably a cool season grass that sprouted from seeds. It's also possible your first application of herbicide didn't give total kill, and some survived to regrow - two applications spread a few weeks apart should get the survivors of the first round. I know a lot of people are against Roundup, but it does have its uses. One advantage is that it appears not to have long-term residual effect in the soil.

Another option, maybe - cover it all over with black plastic -- that should kill off anything under there in about 2-3 weeks.

And no, bleach doesn't kill plants for the most part. It may burn the tops, but it won't kill them long-term.

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Response to Denninmi (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 12:13 AM

5. It didnt even kill the tops

I also tried boiling water, which similarly seems to have done absolutely nothing to harm the grass.

One of the weeds I sprayed with bleach is looking a mite peaked. But the grass couldn't be greener. Its ironic, I guess. Most people want a lawn. But I have a 10x20 foot space, partially paved. If I have grass, I have to mow, water, weed. A moss lawn would be ideal, but getting from here to there seems to be the sticking point right now.

The herbicide has gone through multiple applications. But its about time to start the garden, and I really want things in it not to die. Plus I was considering some in ground stuff. So a seasonal ground kill is not what I am looking for, right as I want to start growing things. Plus I have to vacate my house for a day or two, cause the fumes cause major headaches for me directly after spraying.

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Response to quakerboy (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 07:30 PM

2. Thyme, sedum, and pennyroyal.

 

Between the three, nothing will get through - and you can just them fight it out over who owns what territory.

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 12:18 AM

6. Interesting

Those might be good alternatives to the moss ground cover that was our goal.

But I struggle to believe that they can choke out grass which in just a few(dark rainy cold) months has already headed up a good foot high and has surprising density out in the center.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #6)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 08:10 AM

7. It takes a few seasons, but they'll choke out anything.

 

And, with all three, you can just pull up a clump, divide it, and plop it down elsewhere to fill in spots.

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Response to quakerboy (Original post)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 09:00 PM

3. If it is possible to rent a roto-tiller,

I would try that. After you have it tilled, put down a thick layer of newspapers and put a mulch over it all.

Or if you can't afford the rental, try the newspapers and mulch right over top of the grass.

I will not vouch that this is 100% effective, since I have done it for 2 years now in an area with creeping myrtle, and I still have some coming up, but maybe with grass it will work better. At least it is totally safe for the environment.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 19, 2012, 11:48 PM

4. Its a very small space

With a plethora of fist to head size rock. Digging it by hand was a royal pain. Rototilling sounds downright dangerous. Can you rototill with a jackhammer?

I have weed cloth, but nothing to hold it down with till I can afford that rock to go on top.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 20, 2012, 03:58 PM

8. Well, holding down the weed cloth

or newspaper can be done. It may have looked like hell, but the first year I put the paper down, I used milk jugs filled with water to hold them down----lots of milk jugs. Or you could use logs, or coat hangers untwisted and bent to secure the cloth down. There are probably hundreds or things that will work and are free. But the sooner you get this down, the better if you ask me. Don't worry yet about the rocks.

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Response to quakerboy (Reply #4)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 06:27 AM

10. Why not use the rocks from the ground

to hold down the weed cloth?

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Response to quakerboy (Original post)

Wed Mar 21, 2012, 10:53 PM

9. You could try solarising....

if the grass is in a sunny spot. The sun will "cook" the roots down 4-6." As a bonus, it will also kill any seed in the soil.

All you need is patience and clear plastic drop cloth. It would probably take all season.

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Response to quakerboy (Original post)

Sat Mar 24, 2012, 12:47 AM

11. Plant clover.

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Response to quakerboy (Original post)

Mon Mar 26, 2012, 12:04 AM

12. Good grief. lay off the poison and start mulching!

A 10x20 area is TINY and easy to mulch! Here's what you do:
1) Cut the grass as short as you can get it.
2) Lay down a layer of cardboard or newspaper, overlapping all edges. If you use newspaper, make sure you put it down at least 7 sheets thick.
3) Cover with 3-8" mulch. This can be fallen leaves, grass clippings, chipped wood from a tree trimmer company, whatever you can scrounge up.

Your grass will be dead in a couple of months. Perennials with tubers may take longer. Rake off the mulch or dig it in when you're ready to do something else, but I have doubts about this pea gravel/moss thing.

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Response to quakerboy (Original post)

Thu Mar 29, 2012, 11:36 PM

13. What kind of grass?

If it spreads by runners, give up. It will never go away. I tried to eradicate bermuda grass in one place that I lived. It busted it's way through and around every barrier, and digging it simply allowed it to regrow from every minute piece of root left. Since it had spread UNDER the slab foundation, there was simply no way to get it all.

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