Nothing is more frustrating than the sight of intrusive grass in your freshly tilled garden. Grass growing on a lawn is a tick, but grass invading other crops’ privacy calls for prompt elimination. Pulling out grass and dumping is one way to go about it but killing grass ultimately with no hopes of regrowth entails a lot of work and attention. Luckily, eradicating grass is possible with reputable methods.
Well, let’s save your garden! Read on.
How to Get Rid Of Grass in a Vegetable Garden
First, you need to identify the type of grass invading your garden. Grass has several types, but the main offender of many gardeners is the Bermuda grass. It multiplies and spreads its roots under the soil that it ends up taking over your garden in a short period. You might think that just pulling it out will solve the problem, but wait till it shows up shortly later with a whole army behind it. A tough cookie, this one!
As stated above, hand pulling is an obvious way of eliminating grass. However, it is labor-intensive and almost impossible to achieve significant results. It is also ideal for small gardens as large ones will have your knees and hands begging for mercy. The problem with hand pulling is that roots segments are often left in the ground hence regrowth. It is often not a successful practice, but it is good to include it as a routine activity when maintaining your garden.
Next is Solarisation. This involves placing a plastic sheet, preferably black, over the grass and let the sun’s heat bake the grass and weeds to death. Cut the grass extremely short, then cover the grassy area. After 2-3 months, the grass will die due to suffocation and an increase in the soil temperature.
Also, consider using an herbicide. However, this should be your last option due to the adverse effects on animals, humans, and the environment. This method is best for those who want a quick kill. Herbicides are effective at killing weeds and grasses, sometimes even desirable plants nearby. Be cautious of your pick for herbicides between selective and non-selective.
However, you can use it right before planting to kill all the weeds or use it, targeting the grass only. Preferably, more than once, the application will be necessary depending on how dense the grass is in your garden. Also, spray herbicides on calm weather days, not windy or rainy but hot. Herbicides are quick to deliver results within a week or two after application.
How to Kill Grass Organically
With all the right reasons to kill grass in your garden, it is best to use natural/organic methods instead of chemicals/herbicides. The good thing about organic ways is that they are readily and cheaply available in your home. Such methods are;
Liquid Way of Killing Grass
It may sound weird and funny, but boiling water is a great way to kill the grass. Yes! Plain boiled water poured over grass will kill the plant. Dead grass will turn brown after a few days. One pouring will not be enough to kill even the roots, so repeated application is necessary. This method is best for a small garden. You don’t want to find yourself running around with boiling water to pour over a large grass infestation. It sounds dangerous and messy at the same time!
Nevertheless, if boiling water seems a bit tedious for you, you can opt for vinegar. The best vinegar to use is the horticultural vinegar because its acetic concentration is higher than the usual home vinegar. Horticultural vinegar has a 20% acetic concentration compared to 5% typical house vinegar. You may use diluted or con vinegar. With a full spray bottle of vinegar, spray the grassy area. Repeat the process after a week for desired results.
Kill Grass by Solarisation
For larger grass infestation areas, the best way to kill grass is by cooking it. Choose a day that the sun is hottest and bake the life out of the grass. Focus the sun’s heat on the sod and allow it to kill the entire plant, including the roots. How?
After cutting the grass to a very short height, use either clear plastic or a black plastic sheet to cover the sod. Though, the black plastic sheet works best. Hold it down with rocks at the corners to prevent the wind from blowing it away. This method can take a maximum of a month to be sure of dead roots from unbearable heat in the soil. After, dig out the dead or turn over the dead sod.
Mulching or Sheet Composting To Kill Grass
Sheet composting, also called lasagna gardening, is an ideal way of killing grass organically. After mowing the area, use newspapers or cardboards to layer the area. Wet the covered area wet, then place mulch or compost on top.
After some time, the newspaper/cardboard area will suffocate hence kill the grass. The 5 cm layer of mulch or compost will then decompose the paper adding minerals to the soil. Even though this process may take a long time or maybe a few months for the garden to be weed-free, the bed will be rich enough for replanting. Patience is a virtue in this one.
Manual Grass Removal
Sometimes, some things call for the down and dirty means of solving the problem. Get down on your knees and begin to pull the grass out using your hands. Well, of course, with a glove on. Don’t try this on a large garden raided by grass as it will be more tiresome.
Pulling the grass is a natural way of killing it, but it has its downside. Chances of leaving bits of roots in the ground and transferring grass seeds to other parts of the garden as you dump the grass are high. This process needs keenness to ace it effectively.
After pulling out the grass, you can use a trowel to dig out any remaining roots on the ground. Also, dump the grass immediately in a plastic bag with you to avoid carrying it across all over to dump it. Preferably, burn the grass as some roots can germinate where you will dump them.
How to Kill Grass Without Killing Plants
Removing the weeds and retaining the useful plants is every gardener’s wish. However, many have ended up using ways that leave them sulking with the awful results. Luckily, all hope is not lost. There are several ways to kill grass without killing your plants. Read on.
Competition: if there’s no space, weeds won’t survive in your garden, plant perennial ground covers. These dense ground covers like trees have deep, firm roots and shades that will not give room for weeds’ growth. Also, use ground covers that are drought resistant to tackle the weeds throughout.
Salt and vinegar: though vinegar is strong enough to kill weeds alone, it works much better when mixed with salt and detergent. Mix 1 pint of vinegar (white), one tablespoon of liquid soap, and a cup of table salt. With the mixture in a spray bottle, spray targeting only the grass and other weeds.
No-till method: Tilling and digging will bring fresh weed seeds to the surface, making them germinate. No-tilling means not to dig deep and disturb the soil. Therefore, only dig the area you need to plant your seeds instead of the whole garden. This method improves the fertility and structure of the soil.
Flame torch weeding: a propane torch heats the weeds to death. With this torch, you will only heat the targeted plants. To kill even the roots, you will need to flame the grass many times. Avoid flaming during the dry season as there’s a risk of spreading the fire. Follow the instruction to be safe while using the propane torch.
Regulate nutrients: only feed your plants when necessary and with what they need. The regular food and water will encourage the grass to thrive as well. Some plants can go on for a while without nutrients and still thrive. As for the heavy feeders, be selective in what you feed them.
Grass and other weeds never seem to stop. Even though you can kill it, always use prevention measures to avert it from re-growing. As long as you have spent your time and money maintaining your garden, saving using weed-killing solutions is worth saving. After all, the level of grass infestation will influence your approach.