Removing Bermuda Grass Organically
Removing Bermuda Grass
Bermuda Grass is a beautiful and hardy grass that makes an excellent lawn. It is durable and stands up to heavy traffic. It is fairly drought tolerant, and as a bonus, it loves the heat. As beautiful and durable as Bermuda Grass is, however, it can be the bane of your existence if you wish to remove it.
Removing Bermuda Grass can be difficult because it reproduces and spreads using many different methods. It seeds fairly easily. Bermuda Grass also spreads underground by a vigorous system of rhizomes. This hardy plant also spreads by producing runners that creep along the ground. Seeds, rhizomes and runners mean, that to remove Bermuda Grass, all three methods of reproduction must be addressed.
The war on Bermuda Grass is not as quick and decisive as many of us would want it to be. This is a long process that must be fought with sweat and persistence. There are many different methods of removing Bermuda Grass, but the method that I am going to describe below not only works well—it works for the long-term.
Tools That Are Needed:
Paper Bags (optional)
How to Remove Bermuda Grass Without Chemicals
Step 1: Assemble Tools
To begin the process of removing Bermuda Grass, assemble the tools that you will need.
Step 2: Reveal Primary Root Structure
Using the rake, gently pull back the edges of the Bermuda Grass. This will allow you to see the primary root structure.
Step 3: Dig Around Root Structure
Using the shovel, dig down around the root structure of the Bermuda Grass. Digging around the plant as much as you can. Work from the outside so that you are not cutting the runners off the Bermuda Grass. The less little pieces of Bermuda Grass you have, the more likely you are to remove the pest the first time.
Step 4: Gently Remove Grass (Right Down to the Rhizomes)
When the root structure is fairly loose, then grab the plant and pull it up gently. If you shake the plant a little bit at a time, it will separate from the dirt. This will allow you to see the crisp white rhizomes that have burrowed underground. The goal here is to remove as many of the rhizomes as possible. One little tip of a rhizome will grow into the large plant you have just removed. Dig slowly and be methodical as you progress.
Repeat this process until the area you are working is free of Bermuda Grass. Place the Bermuda Grass that has been dug up, into the paper bags and set them aside for the garbage or yard waste cans.
Step 5: Loosen Soil
Using the shovel, dig up the area you have just worked in again. The goal is to get the soil to be fairly loose.
Step 6: Sift Out Remaining Rhizomes
Place the sifting screen over the wheelbarrow. Use the shovel and load a few shovelfuls of dirt onto the sifting screen. You can either shake the screen, which I do not recommend, or you can use your hands and push the soil back and forth over the screen. The dirt will fall through the screen, leaving any of the larger rhizomes on the screen. Gather up these rhizomes and place them in the paper bag. Repeat the process until the area that was dug up has been thoroughly screened. Dump the soil back into the spot that was dug up.
Screening the Soil
How to Prep the Space
If the area is to remain vacant (free of plants), then place several layers of cardboard down to cover the work area. Cover the cardboard with a heavy coating of wood chips or other ground cover product.
If the area is to be planted, there are two options available. Cover the ground with either cardboard or weed-cloth. Cut holes where the plants will be planted and then plant the plants. The second option is just to plant the plants. I would recommend planting the plants without using weed-cloth or cardboard. The reason is that as new Bermuda Grass sprouts, it can be easily removed. This is the ongoing part of removing Bermuda Grass.
Because Bermuda Grass spreads by seeds, rhizomes, or runners, removing it requires a few applications. The benefits of following the above procedure are two-fold. First, the screen helps to remove most of the small Bermuda roots, rhizomes and leaves from the soil. The second benefit is also because of the screen. Screening the soil to remove Bermuda Grass allows the soil to be soft. This means that any new growth from the Bermuda Grass can be easily removed.
The method that is described here works really well. This is a time-consuming method, but any war that is waged on Bermuda Grass requires time. This plant is fairly invasive and though it makes some of the most beautiful lawns it can easily become a pest. Removing Bermuda Grass Organically is efficient and environmentally safe. The list of items needed is both sustainable and green. I hope that this article helps. I am happy to answer any questions that readers may have.
Ready for Planting
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 David Stillwell