[permaculture] Crabgrass, Bermuda grass, etc.

Golden Love goldenlove at cruzio.com
Tue Jun 19 18:55:37 EDT 2007


Hi Dieter,

Sounds like you are having fun, that's the main thing.

Golden

Golden Love
Love's Gardens
Creating and Maintaining Sustainable Urban Landscapes
California Licensed Contractor C27 363672
127 National St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone  (831) 471-9100
Fax  ( 831) 471-9200
goldenlove at cruzio.com
 

-----Original Message-----
From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Dieter Brand
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 2:58 AM
To: permaculture
Subject: Re: [permaculture] Crabgrass, Bermuda grass, etc.

Golden,
   
  I thought it would take a lot longer than 3 1/2 months to get rid of the 
  crabgrass. Are you sure it won't come up again?
   
  Most of the fields ploughed by the previous owner until about 12 years 
  ago are affected. Farmers plough to loosen the soil, but after the first 
  rain it gets compacted worse than before because the ploughing 
  destroys the organic web in the soil. Which means the ploughing 
  has to be repeated, with the soil getting worse all the time, and organic 
  matter being lost each time through erosion of topsoil and oxidation 
  of soil nutrients. The negative effect of deep ploughing shows 
  much sooner in hot climates than in the temperate climates of Central 
  and Northern Europe where the modern plough was invented.
  During the dry season (May through Sept.) the compacted heavy clay 
  soil denuded of organic matter will take on the consistency of
  reinforced concrete. It is well possible that, under such conditions,
  the spread of crabgrass is the soil's last strategy of survival
  since nothing else will grow.
   
  I have 2 smaller fields which I rehabilitated by using perennials. They 
  were completely covered by brambles and other woody perennials to 
  a height of almost 3 meters for nearly 5 years. Cutting and shredding
  everything (except for the trees) with a hacking device, I left it as
  mulch on the surface. The soil remained undisturbed with all the
  roots intact. These fields now don't have any crabgrass, and they 
  are still green after 3 or 4 months without rain. I'm now experimenting
  with direct broadcasting of different types of cash and cover crops
  into the stubble.
   
  Hence my conviction: for rehabilitation compacted heavy clay soil
  in a hot climate, one needs to feed the soil with a combination of 
  green and woody plant residues, greens on their own don't provide 
  enough substance to improve the soil.
   
  I didn't really mean that your soil will go dead if you cover it with
  black tarp for a while. It is more a matter of principal to me not
  to suppress plant growth in any place or at any time, except
  just enough so that the edible plants don't get crowded out.
  I rely entirely on plant residues grown onsite to provide the soil
  with all the fertility it needs to produce our food. The last time
  I got a load of manure from a neighbouring cattle farmer is
  already 5 years ago. 3 years ago, I also stopped large scale
  compost operations. Now I just put on another layer of mulch
  every so often or grow cover crops. The conversion has taken
  some time, but once you get there it is a very satisfying 
  feeling to be able grow better food than you can buy in any
  shop without a gram of fertilizer, organic or otherwise.
   
  Dieter Brand
  Portugal
  
Golden Love <goldenlove at cruzio.com> wrote:
  Hi Dieter,

The soil under the black plactic had worms,was moist and the micro organisms
probably just went down into the soil a bit. Anyway, the garden was quite
abundant after the project (about 3 1/2 months here in coastal California).
You are very lucky to have several acres. Are all the fields affected?

Golden 


Golden Love
Love's Gardens
Creating and Maintaining Sustainable Urban Landscapes
California Licensed Contractor C27 363672
127 National St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone (831) 471-9100
Fax ( 831) 471-9200
goldenlove at cruzio.com


-----Original Message-----
From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Dieter Brand
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2007 1:03 AM
To: permaculture
Subject: Re: [permaculture] Crabgrass, Bermuda grass, etc.

Golden,

This is a method of last resort. Soil without vegetation is dead
soil. How long did it take you to get rid of the crabgrass. I
reckon that I would have to cover my soil with black plastic
sheeting for at least 2 years to be sure that none of the rhizomes
remain in the soil. Anyway, this is not feasible for several
acres of fields.

Dieter Brand
Portugal

Golden Love wrote: I fried my Bermuda and Kikuyu
grass using black plastic tarps. None to be found now.

Golden Love
Love's Gardens
Creating and Maintaining Sustainable Urban Landscapes California Licensed
Contractor C27 363672
127 National St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone (831) 471-9100
Fax ( 831) 471-9200
goldenlove at cruzio.com


-----Original Message-----
From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Dieter Brand
Sent: Saturday, June 16, 2007 2:58 AM
To: permaculture
Subject: [permaculture] Crabgrass, Bermuda grass, etc.

Many thanks to all who replied in this thread. Apart from crabgrass and
Bermuda grass, there is also Kikuyu Grass. We are blessed with all three of
them. Among the 3 methods for controlling this type of
grass:

- applying lime,
- spreading partially decayed wood mulch
- growing rye or ryegrass,

I like the rye or ryegrass best, since it permits to grow new biomass in the
process. I actually had some patches with rye and ryegrass in the winter, so
far they seem to be free of crabgrass, but the real test will come in the
summer.

I also noticed that places with plantago lanceolata and plantago maior
(plantain) are free of crabgrass, but I don't know how effective they are
for combating this type of grass.

Dieter Brand
Portugal




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