Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to Kill Bermuda Grass in 10 Easy Steps

In its proper place, Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) makes a good lawn or good pasture. Unfortunately it doesn't stay in its proper place. The underground roots and the above ground runners spread everywhere. Soon you have Bermuda grass erupting from your flower beds, creeping through your cactus, tangling in your shrubs and even invading your garden shed.

Killing Bermuda grass is not difficult, but it's not going to happen overnight. I'm a desert landscaper. I spend a lot of time killing lawns, especially Bermuda grass lawns, to replace them groundcovers that use less water. I have learned that no matter what the herbicide package says, it will take at least a month and several applications of herbicide to kill 90 to 95% of the Bermuda grass, then several months of spot application on surviving sprigs to get the remainder. It's a tough plant. It's so tough that it grows in the cracks of the concrete medians in the middle of a Phoenix freeway.

Bermuda Grass with seed heads
By Harry Rose from South West Rocks, Australia via Wikimedia Commons

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Natural Pest Control for Gardeners and Landscapers: It's a Bug-eat-Bug World

The no-work, pesticide-free approach to controlling garden pests is to let their natural enemies eat them. The easiest and cheapest way to minimize the numbers of insects that damage your plants is to encourage predator insects that will eat the plant-damaging insects for free. The easiest and cheapest way to encourage these insect predators is to stop killing them - stop using pesticides in the garden. There may be a brief surge in the plant eaters, but the predator populations will expand to control them.
Caterpillar on 4 O'Clock Flowers
Think of the advantages for you - no buying pesticides, no weekends wasted spraying pesticides, not worries about pesticide residues on your vegetables. Just sit back and watch the food chain in action. For sex, violence and mayhem, it matches anything you can find on television, except maybe Game of Thrones.
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