Fruit tree guild invasion...

kineala(zone 7)August 30, 2013

Hi permaculture enthusiasts...

I have a question for you all. This past spring, I planted several fruit tree guilds - two apple and one apricot. They are doing well, over all. But I can see a problem coming... Last year, I had some funky grass stuff growing around my dogwood tree, about 15 feet from one of the new apple guilds. I yanked it all out and (tried to) seed the area with clover. This year, unfortunately, this funky grass has completely taken over... & it is encroaching on the edges of all of my fruit tree guilds! (newly planted, as well as two established and happy peach tree guilds).

I've just identified this funky grass as Japanese stilt grass. Yikes... it sounds like a very formidable enemy! Everything I've seen has said chemical treatment in the spring with pre-emergent weed killer is a necessity for controlling it. Darn... I'm really trying to follow permaculture practices as much as possible & I haven't put any icky chemicals down in my gardens for 2 and a half years. I don't like herbicides. & I don't really want to use them. Especially not in and around my fruit tree guilds. :-(

Does anyone know - is there any hope in dealing with this beastie? Does anyone have any suggestions? Last year I had a small patch of the stilt grass that I yanked. This year it's all over my yard.

THANKS in advance for any pearls of wisdom you may have... :-)

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Sumatra(6)

I've been fighting Japanese stiltgrass for years.
The only two ways I know of clearing it without herbicides is to cover the plot with a tarp depriving it of sunlight, or set fire to it.
Luckily, it's an annual, so raking it down to bare ground just before it's seeding stage, (right about now) is good too.
Unfortunately, that won't stop dormant seeds from the previous years from sprouting.
This said, the only place they won't grow is heavy shade.

ETA: Scraping the ground down to bare clay and disposing of the dirt would remove it too, but that would do more harm than good.

This post was edited by Sumatra on Wed, Sep 4, 13 at 21:34

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 9:33PM
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jijack(6)

chickens, turkeys, rabbits in a tractor? The tree would then benefit from the animal waste...just an idea

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 9:20PM
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gardenjack(8b)

Since your guild is still young
you may tree to mimmick a Forest Floor by
Mulching with leaves , smother the grass somewhat,
and creating the environment different to what the grass prefers.
As the Food Forest becomes older, plants growing around the trees will be succeeded by others. Every year becomes slightly different until the whole system settles.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 8:37AM
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