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Squares under siege... by grass!

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Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  Coelli on 6/29/2012, 3:44 pm

My boxes are on top of what was a neglected lawn; it was probably mostly native grass when we moved in. When I put the boxes down we used a layer of weed block fabric and some newspaper. Apparently this was not enough. Sad

I am constantly pulling grass out from my SFG boxes. It comes up in several places every day and I usually get it before it's an inch or two tall, reaching as far down along the stems as I can in the hopes of getting the roots up too (with about a 75% success rate). I recently put more weed block down around the boxes and entire garden up to the fence perimeter and added about 2" of bark mulch on top.

I have these dark fears that the grass roots system is permeating the boxes from the bottom up and choking everything out. Will it ever run out of juice and die off and stop coming up? Or at some point will I have to start the boxes over with more drastic measures underneath?
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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  rowena___. on 6/29/2012, 4:55 pm

sounds like bermuda grass, which is what we have. you'll need to keep pulling it. eventually it will slow down but it will never go away completely. it won't ruin your garden. presumably you are out there every day, so you just pull pieces when you see them.

the first few years they will be tenacious. by the third year they will slow down. by the fourth year, they will be soft wisps that come out easily.
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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  Coelli on 6/29/2012, 8:17 pm

Well, that's good news! I am planning to eventually expand those beds to 4x8, so I'll "salt the earth" under the weed block and use many more layers next time before filling the new space. I'm thinking lots of baking soda or vinegar might help poison it without being too toxic.
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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  rowena___. on 6/29/2012, 9:05 pm

salt and vinegar are non-selective. they will kill any plants in the box.
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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  Coelli on 6/29/2012, 9:30 pm

I have 12" boxes, so I figured I would lay down the vinegar or baking soda, let it seep in for a few days, then put several layers of weed block down over it and then fill the boxes. By the time any plants get down there the water coming from the boxes over time should have washed the weed-killer down into the earth below the boxes. I would definitely not use it *in* the boxes!
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Bump

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/22/2017, 8:20 pm

I have my old re-purposes window boxes out there with the old rotting partial bottoms, they are a good 12" deep.  My first year, I just put them out there in a low spot in the back yard...yeah,I know.  Now 2 of the 4 boxes are pretty involved with grass invasion.  It is just run of the mill yard grass...whatever that is up here.  

Any tips to kill this stuff before I get those boxes in full swing?  I can stagger them to account for timing as far as time needed for an organic kill....
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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  sanderson on 3/23/2017, 2:29 am

The only thing I can think of is to raise the beds off the ground, supported at least every 2'. If you can't get a handle on the obnoxious grass already established in the beds, you may need to make new MM. I have a bed that I let a weed get established by not keeping the area clean of weeds. It spreads under ground and if I can't get a handle on them this year, I will toss and make new mix. The only organic method I know of is to solarize and right now there isn't a lot of sunshine hours and warm temps. http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74145.html

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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  has55 on 3/23/2017, 7:38 am

my wife and I took one day and track the Bermuda grass back to the bottom of the beds and to the outside wall, then cut them. Then we put cardboard on top and mulched on top. we later create a border around the garden with cinder blocks, placed more cardboard on top, then mulch. this stops it dead it tracks. you could use wood as your border.
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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/23/2017, 9:14 pm

Any vinegar/salt experiences?

Yeah, not hot enough, Sanderson, and it takes out a lot of my squares...

Has55, I did that with my 4x4 last year. These are kinda falling apart from the bottom, but fine, just old...

Thanks!
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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  phoeg on 3/24/2017, 4:23 pm

I'm glad I found this thread. This is a problem I have and I'm about to put in a couple of SFGs along one side of our workshop building. Bermuda grass is my main nemesis. You see, the original owner of the property mixed Bermuda grass seed in with the feed for the cattle. So we have 20 acres that was done by "feed and seed"! 

My first SFG had the ground scraped clean but that bloody Bermuda grass came from somewhere and on up through the fabric. This year I may lay down a layer of pea gravel then put the boxes on that. I was heartened to read that each year the Bermuda grass became less and less hardy. 

I'm going to try some the ideas here.
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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  sanderson on 3/24/2017, 4:47 pm

When I mentioned elevating the bed off the ground, it can be as simple as 3/4" bottom screwed to the frame, all set on treated 2" x 4" set every 2 '.

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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  has55 on 3/24/2017, 9:52 pm

@sanderson wrote:When I mentioned elevating the bed off the ground, it can be as simple as 3/4" bottom screwed to the frame, all set on treated 2" x 4" set every 2 '.
this is the easiest idea.
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kill spray

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/24/2017, 10:05 pm

Yeah, these are old boxes from I bet 20 years ago...they cannot be elevated.''  And I willl not be modifying anything...free.  Still serving well actually...

Anything that I can spray on this stupid grass to kill/suppress it?
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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  RC3291 on 3/24/2017, 10:37 pm

I've heard boiling water will kill it, probably the safest in a garden. Bleach or a combination of salt, vinegar and a few drops of dish soap will kill weeds. Don't think I would want to use it in the beds. Maybe around the outside at the base. I'll trade you grass for little green caterpillars.
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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  sanderson on 3/25/2017, 3:08 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Anything that I can spray on this stupid grass to kill/suppress it?
Anything that you spray that kills the grass in the box will also harm veggies and possibly the microorganisms and worms.

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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

Post  has55 on 3/25/2017, 1:05 pm

send a picture of your garden again. I forgot what it looks like. That may be helpful for us to form more specific ideas,
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Re: Squares under siege... by grass!

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