getting rid of grass in flower beds

kath1966April 13, 2011

I have invasive grass growing in my flower beds. I don't know if it is quack grass or what. I have a hand held steamer that I thought I would fill with vinegar and blast them with that. Anyone ever tried this and what was your outcome? Purchased Ortho Grass-B-Gone and thought this could be used in the garden but upon reading the instructions, I see it is no better than Roundup or Spectracide weed killer. Still must protect your plants from over spray. Any input would be appreciated.

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

When you spray anything on Quack Grass it might kill the top growth but seldom will have much affect on the rhizomes that the Quack Grass grows from. The only really effective method of getting Quack Grass from planting beds I have found is to dig those rhizomes out and place impervious barriers around those planting beds to keep the rhizomes from getting back in.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 7:12AM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

You need to identify the grass, but if it is quackgrass, it can be tough to kill without killing your flowers. I have had good luck using Round-up, but that was when I was planning to redo the entire bed anyway. You must use edging or some kind of barrier to prevent roots from the surrounding area from moving back in as they will do that fairly quickly.

I have also had good luck using the active ingredient in Grass-B-Gone. However, it is fairly slow to kill the grass--it just stops growing, then slowly dries up. Usually takes a couple applications when the grass eventually starts to regrow, but it is easy to apply. It is safe for many of your common yard flowers, but not for all. If your beds have flowers that it affects, then I think Round-up will be the better choice.

Pulling the grass from damp soil, getting as much of the roots as possible is probably one of the better treatments. Just remember to keep after it everytime more grass appears--you have to get all the roots, any that break off and remain in the soil will start a new plant, so you have to keep going back after these, and again you have to prevent roots from outside the flower bed from moving back in.

If the grass is an annual grass, then pulling by hand is very effective. Round-up and Grass-B-Gone will also do a good job, but could damage your flowers as noted above, and with annuals, there is probably more seed in the soil so new sprouts of grass will come up again later and the herbicides won't stop this unless you also put down a product containing trifluralin (Preen) to stop the germinating weeds for a longer period.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 1:53AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Any poison that will kill Quack Grass, and many other of the more persistant "weeds", is not good for our environment. The glyphosates are not all that effective at controlling the invasive grasses such as Quack Grass and where they are used several applicaitons per year are required to keep that grass from growing although it will return almost as soon as spraying the product stops. Iowa State University researchers have found that spraying the glyphosates to control Quack Grass require 6 or more applications per year. Any of those poisons are very braod spectrum and will kill every plant that gets a dose of them.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 7:39AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Is it creeping in from the edges or showing up in spots in the middle? How long has this been a flower bed? If the grass is not all tangled up in your "good" plants, maybe a barrier of some type could be used to smother it. Newspaper, cardboard, a big rock, whatever you have that you don't mind looking at (or covering with mulch).

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 4:31PM
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Joe1980(5)

Roundup, or other total vegetation killers has worked on anything I've ever used it on. Sure, you might need to aplly several times, but to me, that's just fine. If you get a nice tank sprayer, use the foaming tip, which is the most controlled way to apply it. You just put the tip right above the suspect weeds, foam it up, and you're good to go....no overspray. Glyphosate neutralizes in the soil, so I wouldn't worry about the "environmental effects", but that's your call. Personally, I never bought that bridge.

Joe

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 8:43PM
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kath1966

Thanks for all your answers. I guess I'll abandon the hand steamer with vinegar idea. I didn't know your could buy a tank sprayer with a foaming tip. Thats what I'll try next.

Kath

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 10:35AM
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Joe1980(5)

Yep, look at your local big box store, like Menards, Home Depot, Lowes, or Fleet Farm. Look for the Ortho tank sprayer. It's a translucent white color, and is 2 gallons. It'll come with an adjustable spray nozzle, a fan pattern nozzle, and a foaming nozzle. Just make sure you store the whole shootin' match inside where it won't freeze in winter, or the spray handle will crack.

Joe

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 5:43PM
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