Ozark Challenges

Loren Davidson loren at wombat.net
Mon Mar 17 16:18:49 EST 1997

At 03:02 PM 3/17/97 -0500, Rebbry at aol.com wrote:
>The growing season is coming on-line, and I find myself once again
>confronting two of our eternal "challenges" in the Ozarks:  ticks and bermuda
>grass.  Now, I know some people say you can control ticks with guineas or
>chickens or ducks or geese, but I've never known anyone in real life who had
>any success with these techniques.  As for bermuda, I've tried everything
>from Round-up to buried flashing to digging out beds and laying landscape
>fabric down first.  Eventually, bermuda snakes its way in.   How are you
>folks dealing with these challenges?  Rebecca Bryant

I had horrible Bermuda grass in a community garden plot once, and yes,
eventually I think it *will* sneak back in.  However...I managed to reduce
the amount of work necessary to control it to a manageable level with the
following two techniques:

1)  I, like you, buried 8" wide aluminum flashing all around the garden.
Back-breaking work, especially in a southern California summer when the
ground was hard as the proverbial rocks.  But this kept 90%+ of it outside
the garden.  (And I had to use the aluminum flashing; my first trial was
with 4" bender board, which the Bermuda grass merely laughed at and
shouldered aside.)

2)  Inside the garden, I used a Hula Hoe (aka scuffle hoe) to cut the stuff
off below the surface, and I pulled it all out & discarded it.  (DON'T
compost it!)  This tool let me get through a 20x30' garden plot in a
workable amount of time.  It took a while for me to get through the entire
plot, but I'd concentrate on one section for a while, then go back & clean
up already "cleared" areas.  The Hula Hoe lets you clear a good-sized area
per unit of time.  Clearing it from around established plants is a bit
tough...sometimes you have to just control it until you harvest whatever it
is, then attack it when those plants come out.

Once I'd done both of these, the amount of remaining work wasn't
bad...dealing with the occasional stolon sprouting in the garden, that I'd
missed with the Hula Hoe, and making the occasional foray around the entire
border of the bed to pick up anything that was trying to sneak under.

There's probably a secret Permaculture technique for turning Bermuda grass
into a cash crop, but I don't know what it is.

I have very little experience with ticks, so can't help there.

Good luck...if I could singlehandedly outlaw the selling of Bermuda grass by
nurseries, I would.

Loren Davidson      
loren at wombat.net         http://www.batnet.com/beauty/
"If war is the violent resolution of conflict, then peace is not the absence
of conflict, but rather, the ability to resolve conflict without violence."
    -- C.T. Butler, "A Guide to Formal Consensus", http://www.ic.org/pnp/ocac/

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