How do you deal with invasive grass?

Jeanne Spears
Jeanne Spears Posts: 27 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Pest & Weed Problems/Solutions

Due to work and illness my garden has not been fully planted in a couple years and has consequently been over taken by a grass that spreads by long roots/runners. The roots are as thick as heavyweight thread and I have pulled out some that are 10 feet or longer. I've tried black plastic and other mulch to smother them, but that only seems to encourage the runners until I have massive mats of roots. Tilling only spreads the problem. I don't want to use any chemical sprays as I have never used any non-organic chemicals or fertilizers on this property, but I really need to get rid of this grass. Suggestions?


  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,461 admin

    Chop, invert, chop invert, chop invert... use salt and vinegar if necessary, along with cover.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Too bad we can't eat the stuff. Think how little work we would have to do.

  • sallyhoward
    sallyhoward Posts: 106 ✭✭✭

    Try getting some chickens to help scratch it up?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    Pigs are one of the best solutions I know of for preparing a garden area. They will have it rooted, chopped, dug over and fertilised all at the same time.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,518 admin
    edited March 2020

    If it is like what we have sounds the same in its nature anyway. It is horrible and discouraging. I look at grass two ways, easy "city" grass & our rural grass. You don't want to chop it because every little piece of root will become a new plant. I would be very hesitant to put it into the compost too unless you can put it into something, like chicken poop, that will burn it.

    Animals might be of help (pigs would most likely work best), but I would tend to dig up & carefully dispose of the grass first, being careful not to shake much dirt out from around the roots & try to leave no root pieces behind. This takes years of painstaking hard work to make it nice. Constant tilling afterward might help, but in my experience, the work is constant. You always have to work the perimeter in the same way, because it will insidiously make it's way back into the garden. Maybe do a pig or chicken run around the perimeter & let them out into it often?

    I might do the initial digging up of the roots, then 1) try putting in pigs and/or chickens (not at the same time) to see what difference they can make. 2) plant a winter cover crop after digging the grass out in fall. The idea with this is that the cover crop comes up faster & stronger than the grass. If nothing else, you will have less weeds.

    If you have a large enough garden, I would suggest to divide it up & experiment with a few methods to see what works best & stick with that one, and then till it often through the tillable seasons.

    I have no idea if these things will solve the issue, but I understand the struggle. I fight that grass too & will need to do just as you this year to bring my garden, flower beds, & herb garden back to where I want them, even if only for a couple weeks. It really does suck any joy out of gardening.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    I have been fairly successful using heavy cardboard and 6-8” of bulky wood chip mulch. It takes around 2 years before I see no evidence of grass attempting to grow through gaps in cardboard...which HAS to been removed and the bare surface deeply mulched or else the grass will just take over the mulch.