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Lasagna Layers over Bermuda Grass?

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

I need info, please.

I'm making a new growing bed and have decided to try the lasagna layering idea.

My question is regarding the bermuda grass that's in the area where the bed will be.

As far as I know, the newspapers should go down right on the sod. Does that still apply, when the sod contains bermudagrass??? Won't it send those tough roots right up through the layers???? Any ideas will be appreciated.:)


Hempstead, TX(Zone 8b)

i tilled first and tried to get the grass out as much as possible. then layed the newspaper then my dirt. it seems to be working.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 6b)

Thanks for your info, Farmgirl. How long along did you do your bed? TQ - Regenia

Spicewood, TX(Zone 8b)

Farmgirl, did you do this over bermuda?! And it's WORKING?! LUCKY YOU! LOL! How did you do it? Just newspaper and then compostables on top of that? How thick was the newspaper?

I haven't tried the newspaper layering thing, but did build a 12" tall raised bed on top of bermuda and it grew right on up to the top. After fighting it for three years, that bed's coming out. We already bulldozed the real grasy half of it and found runners still at the original ground level sending up shoots to the top of the soil in the bed 11" up. Nasty stuff!! Pure evil. *grin*

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

Wingnut... farmgirl21 is out of the country. she is in Italy, she will be back in a week or so. just didn't want u to think she is ignoring ur inquiry.... ma vie

Spicewood, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks, MaVie! I saw her post about going to Italy and wanted to hide in her suitcase! LOL! But when I posted this, I didn't remember that. So thanks!

I hope she sees this when she comes back so I can find out how she killed that nasty scourge! I have an acre of it (old family garden plot covered in it) that I sure would like to get rid of. If she doesn't see it, I think I'll e-mail her.

Thanks again!

High Desert, CA(Zone 8a)

hang in there Wingnut, am sure soon as Nancy/Farmgirl21 get back and settled. she will be here to give details of how she dealt with the problem.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Wingnut, Bermuda is definitely the plant from you-know-where, which is where its roots start, I firmly believe.

They referred to it as a weed in our MG class, and they got a lot of cheers for that one. I have had pretty good success in doing one of two things (and sometimes both):

1. Roundup - two applications, extra-strength, about two weeks apart. And/or

2. Till the ground, and go through it on hands and knees pulling out every bit of bermuda root I can find.

Chances are good that doing BOTH 1 and 2, then laying down a THICK layer of newspaper and other mulch will pretty much take care of the Bermuda. Provided that the surrounding turf isn't allowed to get close enough to send runners under and into that new bed. I've just about decided that ridding our lawn of Bermuda is a worthwhile, long-term endeavor.

Spicewood, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks, Vols! I was afraid it would take all that, but kind of especting it at the same time. Have you ever heard of or tried solarizing the soil? One website said it would work, but I don't know.

N.C. Mts., NC(Zone 6b)

when you use roundup, how long do you need to wait to plant something in that spot? I don't mean when you are making a lasagna bed.

Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

Solarizing is good, if you are totally certain to shut out every sliver of light. A tiny beam will be enough to keep some persistent things alive for several years! I covered a walkway area in Austin with black plastic, that extra heavy stuff you see on concrete pours. Then I placed flat path rocks on top of the plastic, with metal edging along the rocks, to form the path. I planted monkey grass along the edging away from the rocks, to hide the metal, and it grew like that for four years. When I moved, I wanted those nice rocks, so I took them out and pulled up the plastic, intending to sod the path. Under the plastic, incredibly, was thick white bermuda. Within two weeks, it was green and had almost filled in the entire area. When I examined the plastic, there were a few minute openings, about the size of a grain of sand and no more than half a dozen to a square foot, where the rocks had apparently rubbed as we walked on them. Even though the flat rocks still blocked most of the light, enough got through to keep that dratted grass alive, and I'm sure it would have eventually found its way into the thick border of monkey grass.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Hmmm. Now I thought solarizing relies on heat, and requires clear plastic - blocking out light isn't the issue, so much as building up high, sustained heat under the plastic. In fact, black plastic will not build up the same amount of heat as clear plastic.

I don't know if solarization would kill Bermuda - I understand it's used to kill weed seeds and pathogens in the soil. But I don't know if it will successfully kill established Bermuda.

Regarding how soon to plant after applying Roundup - here's what I learned in our MG class:

1. It must be applied at least two hours before rain or watering the area in order to ensure it won't be washed off.

2. It takes 7-10 days to show the effects. For heavy stands of Bermuda, you may want to apply it twice - the second application a week or so after the first, to any areas that are still green.

Since it's systemic, I think you want to wait until you see the effects working - if you sever the plant stems from the roots before that happens, the active ingredients won't reach the roots, and may not kill the entire plant.

Spicewood, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks y'all! Yeah, Aimee, I've had a similar experience with bermuda. Nasty stuff!!!

From what I've read, I think the decision black or clear plastic depends on how hot your summers get. I don't know for sure and can't think straight right now. ;-) I do know that the Old Family Garden Plot is almost an acre big, so there's plenty of room to experiment with all the methods. I think we'll do that later this year ~ 4 or 6 separate areas, one black plastic, one clear, one Roundup, one newspaper, one control, etc. Sounds like a plan!

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Here's an analogy that helped me understand why clear plastic is necessary for solarization.

Think about getting in your car on a cold but sunny winter day. The inside is nice and toasty warm, because the sun's rays are intensified as they pass through the clear windows to the car's interior. Since the windows are rolled up tight, the heat is trapped inside. That's why your plastic must be snug all around the bed you're solarizing - you want to capture that heat and let it build up as much as possible.

Now consider if you had something black to prevent the light passing through your car windows. Your car would likely be almost as cold as outdoors, although the blocking material would be warmed from the heat it absorbed.

If I may make a small contribution: I had a patch of grass - it may have been quackgrass or bermuda, I'm not sure - that I wanted to get rid of. What I finally did was lay down huge pieces of very thick cardboard (it was about 4 times as thick as normal cardboard) and then covered the cardboard with 4" of mushroom compost.

I did this last fall, and so far not one blade of grass has shown itself. The cardboard method worked very well for me.


Georgetown, TX(Zone 8a)

Dave, I am so happy to read that, because my entire front yard has been covered with heavy cardboard for three years. (That wasn't the original plan, needless to say!)Lately, the cats have dug some holes in it, and up popped ruellia, so I figured the other weedy stuff would do the same thing when I moved the cardboard. So I let it stay, intending to pile more cardboard and newspaper on top of the first layer when I was able to handle peat to top that. If your cardboard stopped grass, maybe mine did, too. Most of it is intact. This was very large packing boxes from mattresses and appliances, overlapped at least 12" where they joined. Maybe I will leave it down, pile on top of it and never know if there was anything surviving under the first layer.

Yukon, OK(Zone 7b)

Bumping this back up hoping to hear how the new beds are doing now.

DH and I are planning to make a new bed this fall. I'd love any input. Our area will be about 4' X 70', so I'm hoping for the easiest way to keep the burmuda out permantly. Not the easiest way to make the bed......the best way in the long run to get rid of the burmuda....LOL

Pflugerville, TX(Zone 8b)

Couple of problems that don't seem to have been addressed previously.

1. Burmuda thrives with solarization. It's strong suit is not only surviving but thriving in intense heat and drought.

2. Burmuda grows by three methods: seed, rhizomes, and stolens. It can regenerate itself through any of those methods. So basically what you are looking at to get rid of it is tilling to a depth of at least 2 feet to get the rhizonmes, hand picking or Round Upping the stolens. Preventing the spread of new seeds is even tougher. They are so small they can be carrying in your irrigation system or passed completely in tact through animal intestines and survive in manure and bird droppings. So unless you have a way to keep birds from fllying over, not to mention your neighbor's runners from creeping, eliminating Burmuda altogether is pretty unlikely.

Here is some info on a method that may get rid of most of it assuming vigalant after care

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Well, Dave's old farm was blessed with an absence of bermudagrass and he had great soil. (We compared notes many times when he lived in Tennessee.)

Bermudagrass is one of the most persistent weeds I've ever dealt with. Tilling and handpicking the roots works in theory, but rototilling to a depth of two feet is a bit misleading: rototilling to that depth is not possible with most rototillers on the market and using larger farm implements that can till the soil to that depth is impractical in most most urban and suburban gardens.

Roundup - as far as I know - requires leaf surface to "uptake" the systemic into the plant's vascular system. Spraying it on chopped up rhizomes isn't likely to do much good ;-(

I've pretty much concluded that Bermudagrass is a weed I can only keep at bay through regular maintenance - pulling up runners and roots when the soil has the proper looseness and moisture content, applying mulch and occasionally spraying with Roundup.

And when I go on a rampage and try to eradicate it, I am reminded of the advice: if gardening is a baseball game, nature bats last ;o)

Poast is a weedkiller that one member reports is excellent at killing bermuda and other warm-season creeping grasses. I haven't tried it yet - it's not easy to find and is fairly pricey.

Pflugerville, TX(Zone 8b)

The thing that really irks me is that home builders are allowed to plant it without even giving the home buyer the option of another choice. Buyers get all these options for carpeting and counter top and cabinet finishes, etc. but rarely do they have any option or say in the exterior. So they have this lovely new home on a lot with burmuda weed, trees that are often poorly planted and in all the wrong places, and hedges and foundation plantings that are invasives because the builders choose based almost exclsively on what grows the fastest.

Lawrenceville, PA(Zone 5b)

While a little off topic, I couldn't help replying since it is a sore subject for me.
I agree with PvillePlanter that landscape contractors get away with some really poor plantings. While we don't have the trouble with Bermuda grass like our southern friends, we still suffer from poor landscaping. I've hired three different (and supposedly 'the best' landscapers in our area, and have been disappointed every time. I'm now committed to doing it all myself - and was hoping to pick up a few lasagna bed pointers from this thread myself.

Speaking of amending soil, each year I now purchase 16 cubic yards each of top soil and mulch to build new raised beds (We've got 18 acres, and have a long way to go). Then I amend with whatever compost and I have from last year.
The last contractor I tried was putting in a row of 50 Douglas Fir for me to block the view of the highway. About halfway through the job, he asks "Can we use some of that soil over there? It's a lot better than this stuff we brought with us." I was outraged, and had a big fight with him over the soil he already put in.
Maybe it's time for a new forum like "I know a good contractor"

Anyhow, please go back to talking about Lasagna beds. I've said my peace. :)

Pflugerville, TX(Zone 8b)

Maybe we should all quit our day jobs and become contractors :-)

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I agree that most landscapers are stuck in a mindset which is why you see so many "cookie-cutter" foundation plantings and the same trees used.

In our experience, builders will give you the ability to make many choices (even in non-custom homes) as long as you insert yourself into the process from the get-go. In both homes we built, we were very involved in nearly every facet, from floorplan changes, adding a laundry chute and square footage, choice of cabinetry finishes and details, wall texture, electrical outlets and switches, stereo and internet wiring, etc. I picked out every sink, faucet, plumbing fixture, molding, etc. (And it's a LOT of work to make all those choices!)

We allowed the builder to put in Bermudagrass both times - not because it was our first choice but with the adjoining lots already sodded with it, it seemed to be an uphill battle to try fescue. Plus, the cost of maintaining a fescue lawn in Oklahoma is a daunting prospect at best ;o)

If we ever build again, undoubtedly we'll make a different lawn grass choice AND I will also be a lot pickier about where they place the outside spigots. (That's one thing that didn't occur to me to specify until it was too late.)

A landscaper that is reasonably priced, creative AND doesn't have a huge ego is a rare find ;o)

Pflugerville, TX(Zone 8b)

Does St Augustine not do well in OK?

Yukon, OK(Zone 7b)

PP....I'm not certain what St Augustine is, but being an Okie all my life, burmuda is the choice for lawns. I'd say close to 95% of OK (central to west) is burmuda. It does make a beautiful lawn. How well does St Augustine do in the extreme heat?

Pflugerville, TX(Zone 8b)

St. Augustine grass, Stenotaphrum secundatum (Walt.) Kuntze, is a perennial robust grass widely used for pastures and lawns. St. Augustine grass is a coarse textured, stoloniferous species that roots at the nodes. Unlike bermudagrass, St. Augustine grass does not have rhizomes. It produces satisfactory turf at moderate levels of maintenance, effectively competes with weeds and other grasses and has only a few serious pests. In moist, warm climates St. Augustine grass maintains a satisfactory turf cover with only occasional mowing. In drier climates (below 30 inches annual rainfall) it survives with supplemental irrigation. At higher maintenance levels, St. Augustine grass produces a thick, lush, dark green turf that is highly preferred by homeowners.

In my area, it is considered to be the best compromise between burmuda (very invasive) and fescues (very costly to maintain)

For more info see

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

My experience with St. Agustine grass is that it will croud out bermuda over time and is itself easy to get rid of! Go figure! But, it is too course for my tastes. My current goal is to keep lawn grass to a minimum. For that I am looking at Buffalo grass for a minimal lawn in a native/adapted plant landsape.

Pflugerville, TX(Zone 8b)

my DH has been trying some plugs of zoysia for the last couple of years because they are hardy and drought tolerant. Problem is they are also very slow growing so the augustine and burmuda it was intented to replace don't give it too much of a chance.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

St. Augustine wasn't widely available in Oklahoma, at least not within a 50-mile radius of Tulsa.

The choices were pretty much Bermuda (sod or seed), Fescue (mostly seed, sod was expensive) and Zoysia (plugs - and very expensive.)

Gordonville, TX(Zone 7b)

St. Agustine may not be suitable for Northern OK. I was told that it might winter kill some years here especially if cut too short going into winter.

Okeechobee, FL(Zone 10a)

Best place for St Augustine is in a hanging pot. It's beautiful. I'm still working on this great grass/weed kill method. More to come. Sidney

Pflugerville, TX(Zone 8b)

LOL....that's kinda like me when it comes to pampas place for it is in a long as it somebody else's yard!

Pocola, OK(Zone 7a)

According to the St. Augustine site, most of Oklahoma is out of range. Not only that, but apparently there are no seeds to be had now. None of the seeds have been viable in the last few years. The farmers have given up. One would have to buy plugs.

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