Bermuda grass

Steve Diver steved at
Wed Jan 14 15:09:03 EST 1998

Earlier in this century, the common name for bermudagrass 
(Cynodon dactylon) was "Devil's Weed" in the South. 

We discussed bermudagrass on this list within the last 
year; if you look in the archives you will see several 

Sheet mulching with cardboard/newspaper, covered 
by organic mulches of straw-leaves-grass...for at 
least 4 weeks up to 8 weeks to be the basic 
organic approach.  The nice thing about cardboard is
that worms LOVE it.  Lots of microbial stuff happens, 
followed by mineralization of nutrients from the
mulches, and so on. 

A couple of synthetic materials from the toolbox 

*Solarization with clear plastic will kill bermuda, and 
this technique is supported by research.  You are
looking at 6-8 weeks in July or August.  With two layers
of plastic, or the addition of chicken manure, you can 
reduce the effective time down to 30 days.  Following, 
you can plant through the plastic as a mulch. 

Note:  strip solarization--the use of clear plastic on 
vegetable beds to control diseases or nematodes, followed
by painting the clear plastic white, and then transplanting
a late-season vegetable crop thru the mulch--will not 
work for bermuda control, because the between-row 
grass will just creep back into the beds. 

*Geotextile weed barriers (landscape cloth) will do the  
trick by blocking light.  Later, you can plant right thru
the weed barrier.   Black plastic works the same, but 
it does not breath and allow oxygen and water to pass

Tip:  If you use the Tube method of transplants, 
poked through the geotextile, you can probably produce
a crop at the same time you are blocking bermuda.  Just
don't leave any space around the tub for light to get through
to the earth.

All three of the above technique are fallow treatments, 
for limited production space. 

If you have any acreage: 

Plow in fall, sow winter rye or wheat.  In spring, incorporate
as green manure.  Allow stolons to sprout, and hit them with 
a harrow to pull up green sprouts and dessicate them.  Maybe
repeat this procedure.  Then, plant a smoother crop (millet, 
sorghum sudan, cowpeas).  The aim is the SHADE out the 
bermuda.  In the second year, after repeating the winter 
sequence, you should plant a row crop like corn or potatoes, and 
then cultivate (or flame) the crop at regular intervals to disrupt 
bermuda sprouts and SHADE it at the same time.  

Weeder geese will pick escape grass sprouts in row crops, too. 

Steve Diver


steved at

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