Miscanthus giganteus removal

jebfarmJanuary 19, 2013

Hello all -

Twelve years or so ago I planted a hedge of M. giganteus about thirty feet long directly under my telephone and cable lines that run overhead parallel along the side of the street.
It has served its purpose well, but I want to replace it with something different, and wonder what the best method of removal would be. Best method meaning it won't cost me lots of money and won't leave gaping holes in the ground when the grass is gone. I am able to do the work.
My problem with this project is that as much as I would like to burn it down (it is ok here with permission) to clean up the area initially, it is growing directly under utility lines. When it got growing this spring I was going to treat it with roundup. I would like to leave the root system of the grass in the ground so the ground isn't disturbed.
The plan was to use my chainsaw to saw it down, I've done it before but my chainsaw is older now and gets gummed up and doesn't work - Machete are very slow and there has to be a better smarter way to do this. This is a large biomass! I have tried stomping, yanking, hand clipping, swearing and nothing has worked to my satisfaction.
Does anyone have good problem solving skills out there? Are there any methods of removal - I really don't care how long the process takes - within reason - to get rid of Giant Miscanthus? Thanks for any help.

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After thinking about this the only way to cut the grass down would be to find someone with a brush hog and take it down with that. A little raking and cleaning, then burn the area off. This spring when it has grown about 1' tall I will hit it with an herbicide. Just needed to think this project out before doing something dumb.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 9:18AM
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30 feet long? Would take many long hours to dig out. It doesn't make a big clump, just lots of annoying little clumps of root tuber like growths. Roundup would be simpler, hopefully kill it and have the roots rot in the ground.

As for the top, don't you cut it down every year before it grows again in spring? Probably really big stand. I just cut Miscanthus down and put in the yard waste. I suppose you can do whatever you think you can actually accomplish.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 8:44PM
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Thanks for the imput - this grass has grown so long and so well for me that it has made clumps that are at least 6' across at the base (width) and it has grown itself out, making doughnut shaped clumps that are kind of dead in the center. It is still way too thick and dense to cut or dig by hand. For many years I sawed it down with a chainsaw, using my saw as a weedeater. For the last few years I haven't cut down the previous season's growth (chainsaw isn't up to it anymore) it looks bad to me, with new green growth growing up through the dead and dry stuff during the growing season. It is a beautiful grass but one of its major drawbacks to me is that it sheds all of its leaves which get blown all over the place in the winter by the wind. If I had one clump of the grass it wouldn't be such a big deal but a hedge of it is really messy. I want to replace it with something that doesn't need yearly maintenance - probably flowering shrubs.
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 8:07AM
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1. You might find it cheaper to rent a chainsaw or gas-powered hedge trimmer, than to hire someone with a brush hog. Whichever way you cut it down, bundle the plants first, with strong twine. Separate the foliage into manageable-sized clumps. It'll make cleanup much easier.

2. When the time comes to use Roundup, cut the grass down again before soaking it. The Roundup will get to the root system faster than being absorbed by foliage. Soak it twice, a few days apart. Use the strongest concentration you can.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 6:28PM
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sandyl(Zone 6B -7)

I have taken some of my old grasses down by burning them,I have several large Miscanuthus that I will be burning out this year. The centers are starting to show that they need divided and to be truthful I just can't divide them like I use too, I have probably close to 15 and the one's that need divided I plan to just burn down this year, if you build a hot enough fire and let the rizone get hot enough and keep the fire hot the grass will not come back, now don't do this with them all at the same time you will have the fire department on your case.. I always burn mine but the one's that I want to keep I have a garden hose ready to put out the fire as soon as the tops are burned, its like puff and they are gonein seconds, if the rizone burns it will kill it the entire plant. I plan to put a few sticks of fire wood on some of mine and just let them burn and smolder for a couple hrs.Be careful and don't burn down something important, know what i mean?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:36PM
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I don't mean to hijack this thread, but sandyl if I could ask for a bit of clarification. I was thinking that I would cut it down as close as possible, then soak well with charcoal starter fluid and build a nice little "campfire" on it for a few hours. Does that sound like it would work? I just hate the thought of that much herbicide because it is also next to my vegetable garden. TYIA


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 4:27PM
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achnatherum(z4or3 Ontario)

I think building a fire over the crown of the plant might be an idea that would work. Interesting ......
A possible alternative:
If grasses are popular in your area maybe you could have a FREE 'dig your own day'. There might be enough takers to get rid of at least part of your 'hedge row'.
When I was first starting out with grasses I would have been DELIGHTED to have been able to dig a few free clumps!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 9:26AM
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Ohhh, achnatherum, I like that even better. We have something here called Freecycle, where you can post on their web site free stuff you want to get rid of and how people can get it. I could have a dig day and get rid of all kinds of stuff!! Thanks for the idea.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 1:16PM
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achnatherum(z4or3 Ontario)

I would LOVE to hear how this works out for you!
I typically dig out plants that I don't want, shove them in grocery bags, write plant name & colour on bag with magic marker, wheel them all out to the end of the driveway & stick a 'Free plants' sign next to them and wait - often nothing moves until dusk - people don't like to be seen :o) So far, next morning it is usually all gone!
The whole process of giving plants away or even selling them for a nominal sum is kinda fun AND much better than having to use an herbicide.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 1:39PM
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wow .. If I lived in your area , I would come and dig some out too. They make such a good back drop for different areas( or nosy neighbors )

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:36PM
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