Is there an environmentally friendlier way of dealing with overgrown gardenbed?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Ozi_Brisbane, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. Ozi_Brisbane

    Ozi_Brisbane LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Hi all,

    I have been asked by a customer to make one of their garden beds a bit more managable.

    Currently, that gardenbed has grass growing in the midst of the plantings, which means one has to use the trimmer with surgical precision so as not to cut of the flowers and smaller shrubs etc. As you can imagine, that's a real pain.

    How best to deal with this grass?

    One idea is to use roundup, carefully, and then cover the area with a thick layer of pine bark chips.

    I wonder if there are ways of keeping on top of that grass using less chemically oriented methods.

    I read that covering the area with layers of newspapers first and then pine barking it will do the trick. However, that article didn't mention anything about pre-existing grass and how to deal with that. Would the newspaper kill off the grass underneath it?

    What are some other ways of going about this?

    The solution has to be economical, naturally :D

  2. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157

    Pull it out by hand? Then put down weed barriers, such as paper and pine bark.

    Or is there some reason it can't be done by hand? With all the time you may spend figuring out how to do it "organically" and "economically", it may be just as quick to pull the weeds by hand.
  3. yardmonkey

    yardmonkey LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    I do a lot of hand-weeding of garden beds. Once they are clean they can be kept clean by keeping them mulched and by continuing to keep up with the weeds, not letting things get out of control. If there is grass mixed in with other plants, it may be necessary to remove everything, clean out the grass and then replace the other plants. The bermuda grass we deal with here can really make a mess.
  4. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    If you Ozzies are allowed to use vinegar, you might spray that on with the same surgical precision so as not to kill the plants you want to keep.

    A thick mulch, with or without newspaper, often shades out most grasses. If it does not die out from the mulch, the mulch makes it a lot easier to pull out.

    What grass are we talking about?

    We're using juniper mulch. A local brand is called Cedarcide (Aromatic Red Cedar (Juniperus Virginiana)). Is pine mulch the only one you can use. The aromatic junipers seems to repel bugs and decompost into a better product at the soil level.
  5. Ozi_Brisbane

    Ozi_Brisbane LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Option 1: hack out the grass manually. Will take about 2 hours of hacking around relatively dry soil. So, time consuming and will cost the customer my labour.

    Option 2: Just apply vinegar and overlay with thick layer of mulch: Applying the vinegar is a lot less time consuming, is easier on my body, and will save the customer money in the immediate term, but will probably entail a bit of occasional weeding of grass if it still shoots through the mulch.

    I have no idea what type of grass it is. I don't think it was sown and just grew wild. Could be wrong. It's very soft and thin bladed grass.

    We have a variety of mulches available, other than pine bark. But this being Australia we don't have juniper. We have red cypress, tea tree, pecan nut and others. Pine bark is very popular because it looks good and is cheaper than some others.

    So far I like Option 2.
  6. Enjoy Life Ronnie

    Enjoy Life Ronnie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I agree with the chipped bark approach. It looks great and is wonderful for all plantings. The only draw back is ants. Keep it back away from the foundations (about 12") or they may be a problem when they move indoors.
  7. galagers

    galagers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    i used newspaper in a flower bed at the house. put the paper over the grass and other weeds then wet it real well. The paper chokes out the light and air and the underlying grass and weeds died the only problem I have is with nut grass that comes through everything including pool liners.
  8. Ozi_Brisbane

    Ozi_Brisbane LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Yep, that's the way we are going now. Soak and cover with cardboard and soak again, then cover with pine bark. Should be ok.


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