What is this insane grass that's suddenly everywhere?

thane(z8 Bellevue, WA)April 15, 2009

All of a sudden I've got outbreaks of a blue-green grass. It's got long runners that are like tough little cords, and are usually brown like dead grass. It roots frequently along the runners.

Wherever it gets established, the roots form a really dense mat, so I'm pulling out big chunks of garden soil to get rid of it. I can tell I'm not getting out all the roots too, they are enthusiastic too.

It has a distinctive dusty odor that reminds me of hay. For this reason I was thinking it might be brom.

I'm trying to get it out wherever it shows up, but it's gotten into some tough areas. It has made its way into a rock garden, where I might have to pull apart the rocks to get all the roots out.

Am I doomed? :(

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laurell(8 - Washington)

You can try putting some roundup on a rag and wearing a rubber glove to apply it to the grass blades. According to the information as I understand it, it will poison the roots, kill it, then stop being poisonous. After a couple weeks have elapsed, you can pull the grass out and the roots should be dead.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 11:00AM
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Patrick888(z8 SeaTac WA)

A friend had an interesting idea, but I don't know how practical/safe it is...he suggested using the rubber dishwashing gloves that have a fleece lining...turn them inside out & put Round-Up on the lining and rub the grass.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 11:33AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

That inside-out-glove thing isn't a good idea. The chemical goes right through.

Instead use an applicator made for the purpose of wipe-on application of herbicides.

Or purchase a paint brush which you dedicate to the purpose of paint-on application of weed killers.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 12:40PM
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thane(z8 Bellevue, WA)

Ah, yes. I have done the paintbrush/roundup thing before, with ivy and blackberries that were embedded in a retaining wall. I hadn't considered it because I was hesitant to use roundup anywhere near plants I valued highly. I might have no choice this time!

Have any of you run into a grass like this?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 3:12PM
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I think I have this grass, or something very similar to it, though I'm not exactly sure what it is. I've been scraping it all up with the backhoe into a giant pile so I can be sure it's really all out of there before I plant anything. Then I'm replacing the soil with some other piles of topsoil that don't have this grass and certain other weeds I'm trying to get rid of. The giant pile will be covered with groundcover cloth for a couple years before I make it into my cactus garden.

In your case, I'd suggest roundup and perhaps multiple applications of it. If you're concerned about valuable plants you might be able to put a sheet of cardboard between the grass and the plant before you spray, for larger plants. You might consider digging up some smaller plants and keeping them in pots temporarily so they'll be out of harm's way. You'd better get on top of it now before it's too late!!!!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 4:00PM
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Mary Palmer

I suspect that what you have is Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea). It is pretty awful stuff and quite difficult to eradicate. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/waterandland/lakes/plants/weed-identification/reed-canary-grass.aspx

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 12:55PM
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