Getting rid of Couch grass

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Chris Willis, May 3, 2012.

  1. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Problem is, that to get chooks to eat couch out of the dirt, you have to put them in a very unnatural situation where they are desperate for any kind of food.
     
  2. Chris Willis

    Chris Willis Junior Member

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    We'd love some chooks, but sadly our garden is too small to have any. A large part of the garden is under paver's, which I'd like to get rid of...not too sure about my husband...I meant getting rid of the paver's, not him:) Don't know that our shire would approve of us having then either, being in the suburbs.
     
  3. Alyson Ewald

    Alyson Ewald New Member

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    I'm in North America where we call Agropyron Repens or Elymus Repens couch grass (also quack grass). I want to warn any North American readers of this thread not to try to smother "our" couch/quack grass with sheet mulch. I had this grass spreading year after year from bed to bed under the paths. It would grow runners 5' long seemingly overnight and pop up suddenly in a new place (that's why the latin name means "sudden field of fire"). I sheet mulched the entire garden, paths, beds, and all, with overlapping layers of double cardboard topped with a foot or two of hay mulch. It lay there all year long, 100 degree summer and 0 degree winter. When I lifted the mulch last year in hopes that the grass had given up, the runners had spread to the entire rest of the garden and there was an impenetrable mat of rhizomes everywhere. I gave up on gardening there last season and began coming up with a new plan for the area. A few months later the grass had come up green through the mulch. Thinking of putting in a sequence of chickens followed perhaps by pigs, and starting new garden beds elsewhere.

    If anyone has success with defeating quack grass with any permacultural method, I'm all ears. Do pigs work? Chickens? How about lots of chickens for several years?
     
  4. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    for some grasses with large roots/stolons that can store energy for
    several years it may take longer than a single season to smother them.

    on top of that you also have the seeds from previous generations
    built up in the soil's seed bank. those may last for longer than a
    human lifetime for some species...

    you have to be persistent and vigilant. :)

    really, in the case of many grass species the best defense is a
    good offense, keep the areas well covered with other growing
    plants and remove any grass seedheads you notice before they
    can drop.
     
  5. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I just had an amzing success with weeding this stuff.
    I had finally got a supplier for woodchip last year and heavily mulched alongside the driveway hoping to smother the couch growing here. It didnt, it grew up through it.
    On Friday I decided to stop putting it off and started weeding.
    What I found was that the couch Had grown up through the woodchip but was now in it rather than still attached to the ground level stuff. I grabbed a handful and shook it,out it came roots and all. I have just put another heavy layer-about two to three inches over the lot, this time to finish off the violets.
    These had also been smother by the chip and grew back very sparse and spindly. I am in the process of replacing introduced species with natives and as the bees do not seem to visit the violets flowers, they went on the removal list.

    Find a tree removal contractor and offer them a free home for the woodchip.
     
  6. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    I just had a thought.
    I assumed that you would have pulled up all the runners you found. I hope so, that would have severely weakened the plants
    If not, what you could do is get hold a bedding company, if there is such a thing nearby and ask them if you can have the plastic that the mattresses come in. This is quite thick and if paid over the runners will encourage them to grow.....but they cant grow through the plastic and die.
    If the runners are still there, hopefully, they havent greened up too much, pull them out.
    You should find thatthey are quite shallow.
    Hope this helps
     
  7. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    The plastic bubble wrap type product used for retaining heat in swimming pools is pretty good at cooking grass if you block the edges with bricks or soil to seal it up it gets stinking hot underneath I cooked a section of my lawn by accident with this stuff it was only there an hour .
     

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