Letters to the Editor, PIJ
Rene and Lorraine van Raders
rvraders at tpgi.com.au
Tue Mar 10 00:32:54 EST 1998
Well... I've been following the bermuda grass messages with interest.
There is also an Australian asking to make a database of solutions. Here
in Australia, we call Cynodon dactylon, couch grass and believe it or not
it but when the roots are cooked (in small quanities) it is edible!!!!
Not probably worth the effort unless you want to get some revenge. (Clean
and steam, or chop and stir fry with other veges).
More seriously though couch can be controlled, and it is a useful lawn
species and a forage (my guinea pigs like it, though stock can be poisoned
on lush new growth of certain strains - an accumulation of prussic acid).
I won't deny that it is an invasive species in the vege patch but all is
not lost. In small intensively managed garden beds it is easily hand
pulled and eradicated, provided you have a barrier of some sort (even a
spaded edge)... in large orchard areas it usually isn't present in much
quantity and isn't much of a problem. So that leaves zone 2 garden
beds!!!! Here it can proliferate. We use two techniques... one is to grow
hardy species that are not bothered by some grass threading through (a
garden doesn't need to be free of weeds to be productive). The second is
to newspaper and mulch thick areas, to quickly knock it back and then to
hand weed every week for a while. If vigilent the couch can be
eradicated.. if not as you say it is often back in full strength in a short
As to its place in the scheme of things, I guess its an amazingly rampant
grass that fills any gaps in the garden that we leave. I find our zone 2
gardens are still quite neglected, and don't have much livestock
integrated, so nature makes sure the soil is covered till we get around to
fixing the garden properly. Weeds - Control without Poisons, by Charles
Walters (an American book) actually tells how to propogate it for erosion
control along highways! (It also states that shade is not tolerated, and
that the most common control in agriculture is shallow ploughing).
Addition of lime is also said to be beneficial in many cases.
Hope that is some help... better to live with it in your vege area that use
roundup anyway, from the reading I've been doing!!!!! Please let us know
how you get on... I'm interested to learn more about successes and failures
with this grass, as it certainly is a major weed in Australian gardens too.
Avalon Bruce said
> in re: your 'everything has a place in the scheme of things' comments,
> could you please tell me JUST HOW BERMUDA grass fits into MY world? or
> more specifically, my flowerbeds and garden? it REALLY is a 'weed' to
> me, not edible, and it's discovered the secret to eternal life -- you
> can BUILD on top of the danged stuff, tear the building down 40 years
> later, and it will just come back, nice and lush!
> the ONLY thing i've heard of to kill it out and make roomfor a garden is
> FULL STRENGTH ROUNDUP (which i won't use), 4jiggers to a gallon of water
> w/ one jiggerof liquid dish soap, sprayed on the blasted stuff!
> it's either that or grub it out by hand -- it's immune to ALL disease
> and insect,let alone duck predation andif you leave ONE tiny, brown
> broken sprig, you'll have another whole LAWN to eradicate in four months
> of watering!
> now tell me again, the redeeming merits of BERMUDA GRASS!
> avalonb at nwol.net
Cheers Rene and Lorraine van Raders
The Green Piece Permaculture Garden
PO Box 389
Malanda, Beautiful Far North Queensland
Int. 61 740 965138
Australia 07 40 965138
email rvraders at tpgi.com.au
"If enough people knock there heads against a brick wall it will fall
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