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what would you do?

Posted by sorie6 6b ok. (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 9:21

I want to make a flower garden in our back yard. It's all bermuda grass. Would you dig up the grass and till ground put down weed block cardboard and newspaper then dirt? Or????
I know I've posted a pic of our back yard on here but can't find it.
Here's a pic of kind of what I have in mind. I will change my mind I'm sure about putting the rock around it may get pretty stones for Lowe's.. Will use these rock somewhere else.
Thanks for any ideas.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: what would you do?

  • Posted by mksmth oklahoma 7a (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 11:39

im planning on expanding an existing area of bermuda to make a small peach orchard. My plan is to scalp the bermuda as low as I can then put down old carpet and tarps this fall winter to smother the bermuda and hopefully have a nice bare spot come spring. I would think you could scalp the area, put down cardboard with mulch on top and have a ready to go flower bed in a few months.

Mike


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RE: what would you do?

You meant cardboard as a weed block, right? Don't use real weed block, you will be cursing yourself in a few years :)

I am very sure the proper answer is dig up the grass and build up your bed via lasagna type gardening. I'm usually lazy and skip the digging stuff.


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RE: what would you do?

All the areas that I have converted to flower beds, have the bermuda dug out off. I would dig it out. Best way to know, you don't have to battle it again.

Moni


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RE: what would you do?

You can't smother Bermuda in the winter. It is dormant then. You have to cover it in the summer when it is actively growing, and even then it sometimes takes two summers. Best thing is to dig out every single root down to at least a foot. And weed matting will NOT stop Bermuda. (Ask me how I know!)


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RE: what would you do?

I would take out all of the grass that I could get out, put down cardboard, then add more clean soil and compost to build the area up higher than the lawn. Then I would more-or-less lean the rocks onto the mounded dirt to give the bed some dimension. Still you will be fighting grass all of the time.


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RE: what would you do?

glyphosate right now and you are good to go in two weeks.


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RE: what would you do?

I second the Round-up idea. Bermuda grew through several feet of wood chips that the electric utility left for me at my request. You will be fighting Bermuda sneaking in from the edges but if you keep edging it and keeping the runners out you can do it. I have smothered weeds and grass with cardboard, straw, leaves etc. but it was a long battle that I am still waging. Putting down cardboard with soil over it won't stop Bermuda. Annual plants are actually easier in a bed like you are planning at least at first because if the Bermuda sneaks in you can rework the area. It is bad when Bermuda is in your day lilies. It is easier to move the daylilies (or other perennials) than to get the Bermuda out.


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RE: what would you do?

Thanks everyone for your help. Looks like Ihave a lot of work ahead!


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RE: what would you do?

There has many times in my life I have use roundup, and very few times I have dug out grass to make a bed. Roundup, a tiller and mulch have ruled my life.


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RE: what would you do?

I would recommend a sharp edge around the bed, I found it helps define the bed and (sorta) keeps out the bermuda. Think of a tiny ditch surrounding the bed.

Helen, I use "grass be gone" in my beds. It kills the bermuda but doesn't kill the flowers. It is slow...but it does a good job.


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RE: what would you do?

Lisa I gave up on that bed of daylilies. There is no use trying to pull out the grass. Since daylilies have parallel veined leaves I wondered if grass killing products would kill them too.


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RE: what would you do?

It hasn't killed anything I used it around, but I am careful not to soak the good plants!


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RE: what would you do?

I got the garden area tilled up. My ? now is can I put down cardboard and newspaper and then put down dirt and compost on top of it. DH says there won't be enough room for the flowers roots.
What do you think? Thanks


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RE: what would you do?

Do you mean that you are going to use the cardboard and newspaper as the bottom layer of a new raised bed in the way that is recommended in Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening books? If that is what you're going to do, how much soil and compost do you intend to pile on top of the cardboard and newspaper? Also, how deeply did you rototill and what sort of plants are you intending to plant? Also, do you have good sandy loam soil in that area? Clay? Rock?

If you can answer those questions for me, then I'll be able to answer your question about what to do next.


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RE: what would you do?

I thought I would put the cardboard and papers on now on top of the dirt that was tilled it was tilled I'd say (not sure) but about 16" deep. A guy brought out his tiller behind a tractor. I was told they go a lot deeper than a reg. tiller??
It will be a flower garden only it's in the open no trees here.
I'm not sure of the soil as we just moved here but some clay and rock!
Will add soil and compost on top of CB and papers. The whole yard is Bermuda grass so want to TRY to keep some of it out!!
We're in Grove.
Here's a pic of what was tilled it's 14 1/2' x10 1/2 '.
Thanks for any help.


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RE: what would you do?

Sorie6

I feel sorry for you guys that have to till the old fashioned way. If you would just get a team of the "new and improved imported Texas Armadillo" they will till every thing you have, even without encouragement. I expect that within a few nights my south garden will be tilled and grub free.

You can see that I don't worry a lot about grass seeds. This is where I dumped crass clippings last fall.

 photo 002_zpsfcb9f72a.jpg

Just in case they don't get around to the north end of the garden, I went ahead and prepared this area the old fashioned way to make sure I have room for early plantings.

 photo 003_zps3627eb8c.jpg

Larry


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RE: what would you do?

Holy cow Larry!! those things can do some tilling can't they :)!
Your garden area looks great now help with mine!!


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RE: what would you do?

Sorie, I would to help with your garden, if only I lived closer. I have never grown up, there is nothing I love more than playing in the dirt.

My son came over yesterday and I was showing him that soil temp was up to almost 35 degrees. He told me "yeah, I saw you out tilling when it was 23 degrees and snowing, your will to survive is much stronger than mine". Its not really my will to survive, I was just outside playing.

I started this garden 4 years ago, it looks so much better now than it did then. It is amazing what organic matter can do for soil.


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RE: what would you do?

Sorie, Because you are in a part of Oklahoma that normally has plentiful rainfall, it is likely that the newspaper and cardboard will decompose in just a few months. Plant roots likely will grow downward just fine in order to reach the soil beneath, and even could grow into or through the cardboard and newspaper.

I know our bermuda grass warnings sound excessive, but it is because bermuda grass is likely the worst problem most Oklahoma gardeners face. It is incredibly resilient. It won't die (although grasskillers will kill some of it....I just don't like using herbicides) and you cannot kill it easily. When you kill it out, the next closest bit of bermuda grass tries to grow into the bare soil.....that's why a ton of mulch helps. If the bermuda is growing in mulch instead of in the ground (especially heavy clay or rock), it is easier to dig out.

Larry, I think you'd go crazy if you had to sit still. I will do some rototilling maybe as early as tomorrow but maybe not until Friday or Saturday. I'm waiting for the weather to warm up at least a little bit. There's nothing I want to do badly enough to do it outside in 20-degree weather....except I do go out in the cold to feed the chickens and wildlife.

I agree with you about the organic matter. If you add enough organic matter to your soil, it really doesn't need much of anything else. Sometimes I look at the brown, loamy soil in my garden and am amazed it no longer is red clay. If I dig deeply enough (about a foot or maybe 15" down) I sure can find that old red clay though. If I stop adding organic matter to an area, it is amazing how quickly it starts reverting back to icky dense clay.

Dawn


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RE: Armadillo rototilling

Larry, I have left the garden gates open all winter long hoping that the armadillos would go into the garden and rototill all the raised beds for me. Did it work? Nope. They are so used to being fenced out that they haven't even walked through the open gates. Now, I guarantee you if I had planted seeds and accidentally left the gates open, the dillos would have been in there that very night digging up everything.

The armadillos (and, unfortunately, the skunks as well) have been out in our yard all winter doing a lot of rototilling where we don't want any tilling done. That's the story of my life here in OK. None of the wildlife cooperates with me in any way that I'd like....except for the crows. I feed the crows cracked corn every morning and they then chase the hawks away from our chickens all day long. I consider that a fair tradeoff. Now, if only we could train the armadillos to rototill the soil where it needs to be tilled and to leave it alone where it doesn't need to be tilled.

Dawn


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RE: what would you do?

Sorie, I'd only add that your edging should be at least 6 inches deep all the way around the bed, just to have a chance at keeping the Bermuda out of it. The deeper the edging, the easier it gets. You'll still have Bermuda seeds blowing into your beds, no matter what - and Bermuda seeds are tiny.

We have approx. 3,000 sq ft of beds in the front garden(s). Most of those beds are now free of Bermuda. otoh, the Bermuda still shows up in some of the beds. Two or three times per year, I have to dig it out by hand. I've found that the more Bermuda I dig up, the less bermuda I have dig up in the future. As long as I keep the edging cleaned up - and pull a few weeds every day - the rest is kinda easy.

The next biggest problem we have, here in the southern part of the state (aside from fire ants) is soil pH. If you follow the rest of the advice in this thread, but if the plants still aren't growing properly, check the soil pH.


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RE: what would you do?

Sorie, I hope, you got ride of the bermuda grass roots before you had that tilled.

You can pile on all that stuff, and make an X through all layers and plant after pulling the layers back there, come spring, one lovely plant at the time. :)

Moni


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RE: what would you do?

Thanks everyone for your feed back. I can't wait it is supposed to be 70 this weekend here!!! YEAH!!!!
Going to be busy like the rest of you folks and enjoying some WARM!!!


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