new wedelia bed

xillApril 18, 2013

so last week i decided it was time to clean up around my Fan-Tex Ash. The water basin had been overrun with grass from last season. I figured it was a good time to experiment with the newspaper mulch technique. So i dug up as much of the grass as I could, turned over the dirt, laid down a few layers of newspaper, and then topped it with a planting mix/mulch combo. Afterwards, I planted 20-something Wedelia cuttings in hopes that they would take over the bed and help keep the grass out. If this works for me, I plan to do the same thing in the front yard around my two Mulberry trees, though the next beds will be much larger and won't be a perfect circle shape (I just wanted that look this time). I didn't add near as many newspaper layers as suggested, only about 2-3 layers. I just want the newspaper to keep the grass down long enough for the wedelia to spread, but I want the wedelia to be able to get it's roots into the soil below as well, and I still need water to get down to the tree's feeder roots. Here's some photos of the progress:

Today I have 8 wedelia cuttings that have taken root and are showing new growth. Hopefully it will only be a few weeks before they begin to spread. The newspaper didn't do great, I already have lots of little grass sprouts showing through. Maybe it was because I didn't layer enough, or maybe the newspaper got damaged when I was spreading the mulch mix. I'm not sure.

So for those of you with much more experience than I, how did I do? What could I do better next time? What would you have done differently?

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crista(Sunset 13)

Well, I'll jump in here. Xil, I think the problem here isn't your technique with the newspaper. The problem is bermuda grass. Its roots go down two or three feet and can grow up through nearly everything except concrete. People who are really serious about killing bermuda use Round-up. You are going to have a continuous battle with the bermuda getting into your bed even if you do kill the grass directly under the tree because the surrounding grass will send in runners that will invade the bed. Which is why most people make peace with the grass and just let the lawn run right up to the tree. Sorry!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 12:15AM
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i dont mind fighting the bermuda for a season until the yellow dots crowd it out. the newspaper was more of a temporary solution until the wedelia take hold rather than a long term thing. i dont want to use roundup near my trees or other plants, so my plan is to just shade out the grass as much as possible in all of my garden beds by letting shrubs grow to the ground, and filling in the blanks with dense groundcovers. i can't make peace with bermuda or i won't have any garden beds at all. but the good news is that the wedelia is growing as fast as the grass. i'll post pics after it's had a chance to really thicken up :)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 2:57PM
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crista(Sunset 13)

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:34PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Yeah - what Crista said. I'm interested in how your project goes so please be sure and send back some news after a while.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 11:23PM
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I planted wedelia in my front yard in place of grass, after killing off the bermuda with Roundup. In the back, I removed the bermuda by digging, because that's where my veggies are planted and I didn't want to use Roundup there -- I can see digging not being a great idea around your tree, though, because you have to get quite deep to get to the roots. I don't know if the wedelia will be enough on its own to completely shade out the bermuda. I do think that you need to put in some kind of barrier between the lawn and that bed, or you'll be fighting bermuda creeping in from the edges.

I'm with Crista and Mary, good luck, and do let us know how it goes!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 12:51AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

This might be a good place to report that the solarization last summer of two sections of my yard to rid it of bermuda 'seems' to have worked well. I used clear plastic and left it in place for 2 or 3 months - until it fragmented apart and it was time to plant the asparagus. This method is not viable for what xill is trying to do under her tree so I didn't mention it. Solarization is an alternative to RoundUp, which I'm not completely against using, just in those areas because of other stuff growing.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 8:45AM
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