Let’s all admit it……
The hatred towards Bermuda grass is about as intense as sitting on the LA freeway, during rush hour traffic, when you are already late for an appointment.
Bermuda is equivalent to a grass developed by Satan himself. The roots go down to Hades, and tap into some underground mystical source of energy, causing death and destruction to any well-meaning garden standing in it’s way. Think of Bermuda as the army ants in Africa, that people literally have to pack up and move to escape the destruction of the ant.
Bermuda does have a weakness though…..and after years of fighting, I’ve found it. Bermuda grass grows dormant in Winter. Boom!!! Take that, Bermuda!! Here is how I have dealt with living with Bermuda grass (and not going completely insane).
First…..DON’T PLANT A GARDEN IN A PATCH OF BERMUDA UNLESS YOU ARE READY FOR A LONG-TERM FIGHT.
Second…..If you must plant a garden in Bermuda, take a few cautionary steps first.
-Take some type of plastic and seal down your future garden spot. Let the sun bake and choke out the Burmuda. The grass won’t be dead though…even after months (Remember the tap root to Hades). The grass will simply be halted enough to dig.
-Dig out the garden plot, removing every little tentacle and root runner of the grass. You must dig deep to remove the roots. Sometimes up to 1-2 feet. Place in garbage bag and throw away. Do not compost…..Bermuda for rise up from the grave and continue to grow in your compost.
-Plan a definitive border (wall) around the garden. Plastic borders do not work. Save your money. Bermuda will grow right through the plastic. Go with metal edging or large rock. Again, plant deep. Runners will still try to get through (under, around….any weak point in your garden wall)
-Use mulch. Bermuda spreads on top of the earth by long runners, reaching out to start a new demonic plant. Runners can grow up to three feet long through your garden in a blink of an eye. Literally. You close your eyes and Bermuda just inhabited your garden. Mulch will make it harder for Bermuda grass to find earth to set root.
-Be vigilant. Fight for the health of your garden. Pull any Bermuda you find immediately….do not procrastinate. If your garden gets ridden with Bermuda (or already is), there is hope…..
If your garden has small perennials (coneflowers, bulbs, salvia etc…) then simply dig up plants, place in pots and dig out the bed. If your garden has large perennials (roses, bushes etc…) then pull out as much of the Bermuda as possible. Place plastic on the ground in bed and around the plant. Place a thick layer of mulch on plastic. Wait until winter and dig again while grass is dormant.
I actually use chicken feed sacks in my gardens. I place sacks under walkways, around roses and other large bushes. I leave the sacks in the garden (under mulch) full time. It halts the growth of Bermuda and gives me a chance to breathe inbetween fights.
Remember friends…..fight the good fight. Let no runner exist. Dig deep and exterminate the garden enemy. Destroy all the remains of Bermuda. Sing for joy with a momentarily Bermuda-free garden, and be ever watchful for the next battle (because we all know it’s coming!!)
Happy Gardening, my friends!