Grasses (as weeds.)

Our lawn has a few grass types co-existing. (Happily or not, I could’t say.)

As a result, the grasses that sprout up as weeds in my beds have different rooting habits and thus require different types of removal.

This kind of grass, is easy to remove. It grows low along the ground in a spoke pattern, and by wrapping all blades together into one strong rope and gently pulling, it comes out by the roots. Rarely will it return in the same spot.

The other main grass culprit around here is a real tough one. It looks nice enough.

The spoke grass is in front of the little white bowl. The mean one is along the concrete wall. I call it Lizard Nut Grass. Why such a silly name? Well, when you pull it up, all of the grass blades release from the root system, not unlike a lizard’s tail pops off when pulled. By digging down for the roots, you discover it really is only one long, thin, dainty root, which will happily also snap under pressure.

No problem, right? You got the root, it should be done?

I wish. At that point, we get to the “nut” part of the name. If you keep digging down, following that single root string, you’ll find a little “nut.” This nut will gladly send up another root string, with more grass, and another root string, with even more grass. Until I can find that nut and throw it away, the grass will continue to grow back. Over and over and over. Really great persistence if you want grass in one spot for a really long time.

Oh, did I say one spot?

Yeah, so that nut that’s under ground? It’s about six inches down, usually. Not only will it send up the root string to make grass, it will send out sideways strings to make other nuts! And what’s worse? It will send a root string DOWN and make another nut anywhere from 12″ to 18″ below surface. In the middle of a bed, I can usually eradicate this grass with some serious spade fork, shovel, and hand-sifting-through-the-earth action. So long as I’m thorough, work slowly, and do it two or three times per bed, I find all of the nuts and throw them away. Wherever the bed meets with concrete, however…I am not so successful. The nuts find their way UNDER the sidewalks and THROUGH concrete cracks. No matter how much I may be determined to dig them all out, unless I invest in a jack hammer (and am willing to part with my sidewalk, or garage foundation) I am not going to get a grass-free bed – and that’s ok. I’ll just continue to pull the little grass tails off at the surface and toss them on the lawn.

This isn’t including the actual St. Augustine grass that sends out runners, that send down roots, or the wiley-yet-to-be-named-by-me grass that is soft and feathery in growth pattern, but also invasive.


3 comments on “Grasses (as weeds.)

  1. Shannon says:

    “…soft and feather in growth pattern” sounds like Bermuda. Have I mentioned that I hate Bermuda? And torpedo. I hope you don’t have any of that. LOL

    • plumdirt says:

      Gah! Torpedo is what’s in my Right Bed, not just thin St. Augustine. Any tricks for beating out the torpedo grass? The internet says Round Up doesn’t even work, which I believe should be a four letter word anyway. My usual weed and grass removal is elbow grease and persistence, but I’m wondering how deeply those cross-roots can live…

      I’ve often wondered why there aren’t tomatoes, squash, or other food-bearing plants that grow so staunchly on their own as these grasses.

      • Shannon says:

        Roundup: only works for plants with MANY growth points, i.e. lots of “green” or otherwise wherever a leaf meets the stem. Guess what? Grasses usually only have 2 or three growth points; and that’s if you let it grow to its full height (without mowing it).

        Bermuda (as well as torpedo) CAN be killed with Roundup, but it must be allowed to thrive first, be sprayed to saturation, let to “die” (could take 4-6 weeks), allowed to send up new shoots from its underground runners (which didn’t completely die), repeat process…ad nauseum.

        Don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of time!! And Roundup — though not toxic to people — has been proven to de-sex frogs which is a big problem if frogs are your major pest control species (it is here for mosquitos). I don’t use it anymore.

        I have pretty much done it ALL with invasive grasses. I should get the T-shirt.

        There’s a good reason grasses cover most of the land on the planet (and are a predominant food source for grazers).

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