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Author Topic: The gardening thread  (Read 42988 times)

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daytime drinking

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #465 on: May 21, 2018, 12:49:38 PM »

are there grasses that can compete with bermuda? 
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #466 on: May 21, 2018, 02:52:52 PM »

are there grasses that can compete with bermuda?

Not really.  Bermuda grass is pretty crappy in shade, but in full sunlight it's unstoppable.  It's from Africa, it laughs at drought.  It spread both by seed AND by underground stolons.  You ever try to pull Bermuda grass?  It's impossible, the roots bury themselves super deep.  And all it takes is one small bit of it left anywhere in the ground it will grow again.  Maybe St. Augustine grass could give it a run for its money.  But replacing Bermuda grass with another non-native grass that is even more aggressive is hardly a win.

The typical solution is to spray round up over the lawn to kill everything.  Then cut and strip the sod.  Then aerate and plant new seed on the bare dirt.  And even then Bermuda grass will come back.  It's just manageable.  Mostly by hitting it with more Round Up whenever it appears again.

In a way, it's not as bad for me because I don't care about it in my lawn.  I'm just trying to get it out of my garden beds.  But in a way that's worse because it will just keep growing into my beds from the lawn.  And also because I don't mind a weedy lawn, but a weedy bed defeats the whole purpose of a garden.

daytime drinking

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #467 on: May 22, 2018, 09:27:06 AM »

the very first thing we did when we bought our house was to kill all the grass in the front yard.  just cardboard and topsoil.  now it's wife's natives' sanctuary and butterfly habitat.  isn't much of a plot up there but that grass is certainly gone.  not sure what type of grass it was before.  some native grasses introduced into the backyard are the only patches we have
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #468 on: May 22, 2018, 04:19:28 PM »

Yeah, I'm going with the "smother it in cardboard and mulch" approach so far.  It knocked it back a ton last year, and I thought I had it licked until it came back full-force after the huge rains.

I'm going to hope it's at least weakened and go another round of smothering and mulch, along with putting in some 8" edging to try and cut the garden beds off from the lawn so the stolons can't spread.  See how that goes, but I don't have high hopes.

Your wife should be happy to know that despite my whining about what pampered bitches Monarchs are, that I did end up putting in four swamp milkweeds.  I tried not to, but I kinda ran out of interesting, viable butterfly-friendly natives.  I was hoping they would die, and I expected them to as they weren't in the best location.  And one of them I did think was a goner, but just in the last week I saw a little green and then it rained for four day straights and that was enough for it to really take off.  I'm not going to water it but I think it has already passed into the drought-proof stage now.  There are a lot of birds back in that area, so maybe the monarchs will come to the plant and the birds will eat them.  I hope so.

MissKitty

  • Hooray Beer!
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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #469 on: May 23, 2018, 05:19:38 PM »

Our condominium complex has a communal patio on top of our 5-story garage. When the complex was first developed some bright individual thought it would be a good idea to plant bamboo in large landscape boxes to hide an unsightly area.

It did the job, but fast-forward 10 years later and we want that shit GONE. I know it is almost impossible to kill but I'm asking for pointers anyway. So far we've cut it right back to the soil and placed tarps over it to block out the light and water. Will this be enough if we leave the tarps there until next Spring?

The plan is that after it is dead, we will have a landscape company remove all the root system and dirt, then refill the boxes with fresh soil. Ideally we'd like to salvage the boxes for reuse.
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #470 on: May 23, 2018, 05:42:52 PM »

The key thing with bamboo (or Bermuda grass or most other invasives) is they need to be contained.

If they are in an area bordered by concrete that they can't get out of, then lack of light and moisture (along with potentially a helpful solar heating impact) will pretty much kill everything.  If you put down a couple of layers of tarp and pin them down really well so no light and very little water can get in, then you should be okay.

Also see if you can check on how the bamboo grew or spread.  If it was an expanding clump, that's good.  Clumping bamboo you can possibly dig out the whole chunk.  If it was running in lines, that's bad.  Running bamboo will regrow from any tiny, little bit left in the ground and it really wants to spread out.  It's more aggressive typically in both how it spreads and how quickly it grows tall.

It sounds like you have clumping bamboo contained within a landscape box so you should be good.

Honestly, that is a situation where I would be okay with Round Up.  You are not spraying it in mass amounts indiscriminately. All you would be doing is dabbing it on culms.  And you are not using it in lieu of hand pulling, which would be impossible.  There are no plants around that might be impacted.  It sounds like even any water is contained so no run-off.  No one is eating anything from there.  You are getting rid of a non-native, particularly invasive weed that is could cause a lot of damage because I have seen bamboo break up concrete even.

I mean, I think the tarp will work and it is always better to avoid chemicals when can.  That would still be my preferred option.  I’m just saying if you do not have the urgent next year to buy plants, or if someone is raising a huge stink or you think people might mess with the tarp or whatever— if there is extenuating cirinstance I would use roundup and not feel bad about it.

I do not know how big the area is, but let’s say you put a rain garden in there.  You could absorb 5k-10k gallons of water a year, so getting a rain garden started a year earlier offsets the enivironmental ding of a judicious one-time use of herbicide in a controlled, very small area.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 06:41:28 PM by Zafer Kaya »
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daytime drinking

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #471 on: May 24, 2018, 12:55:00 PM »

is there bamboo that doesn't spread?  it's neat as fuck.  you can build with it
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #472 on: May 24, 2018, 01:28:44 PM »

is there bamboo that doesn't spread?  it's neat as fuck.  you can build with it

The standard practice is to buy a non-aggressive clumping type.  And then you dig a 2 or 3 foot trench around the area you want controlled and install a barrier.  Even then, more and more places are just outlawing bamboo altogether, even if it isn't running bamboo.

If you just want the bamboo to build stuff with, pretty sure you can just put an ad on Craig's List offering to cut and haul away any bamboo they have on their property and people will pay you large sums of money to do it.


MissKitty

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #473 on: May 24, 2018, 01:45:36 PM »

Thanks for the info, ZK.

I have no idea which type of bamboo root system we are dealing with, It is contained but the roots are so thick that it's almost impossible to penetrate with a hand trowel. When I tried using a sharp hand trowel, it was like trying to cut into a dry loofah sponge with a piece of string cheese.

One of the ladies in our gardening group is very Earth-friendly and doesn't want us to use Round-Up because of the possible impact on bees, butterflies etc. I can understand her concern, even if I don't think it'd be too much of an issue if we coat the bamboo with the stuff and then immediately cover it back up with the tarps.

Any idea if Round-Up residue would linger for a year in the wooden boxes or on the underside of the tarp? We want to reuse the boxes. They are lined with landscape fabric, which we plan to remove and replace after the bamboo is gone and the boxes have been refinished/repaired.
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Paco

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #474 on: May 24, 2018, 01:53:39 PM »

Round Up becomes inert once it comes in contact with anything other than plants. The biggest danger is if, say, your dog walks through it while it's still wet and tracks it where you don't want it.
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #475 on: May 24, 2018, 04:58:00 PM »

Any idea if Round-Up residue would linger for a year in the wooden boxes or on the underside of the tarp? We want to reuse the boxes. They are lined with landscape fabric, which we plan to remove and replace after the bamboo is gone and the boxes have been refinished/repaired.

What Paco said.  Roundup is a contact killer that is effective only when it gets sucked up by plants and penetrates to the roots.  It does not screw up the soil.  I mean, I don't know if I would totally trust Monsanto's word on that 100% but you all would be using a fairly small amount in a small area.  You're not planning to grow anything to eat on it, and you are replacing the dirt and fabric anyway so I don't think it's a big deal... to humans anyway.  And probably pets.  It may create some mutant butterflies if they land on the plant while it's still on the plant but I believe my views on the the sissification of butterflies has been expressed.  You kill a few butterflies this year to plant nice pollinators that will help butterflies for the next ten years... it's a worthwhile trade.

If someone wants to freak out about something, your boxes are probably pressure treated lumber and if they are older than 10 years probably with the old CCA which means it is leaching arsenic.  But you don't have to tell your garden group that.  It really only penetrates an inch or so at the edges and again-- no one is eating anything from the boxes.  Not that it would matter even if they did.

Paco

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #476 on: May 24, 2018, 05:41:14 PM »

Any idea if Round-Up residue would linger for a year in the wooden boxes or on the underside of the tarp? We want to reuse the boxes. They are lined with landscape fabric, which we plan to remove and replace after the bamboo is gone and the boxes have been refinished/repaired.


If someone wants to freak out about something, your boxes are probably pressure treated lumber and if they are older than 10 years probably with the old CCA which means it is leaching arsenic.  But you don't have to tell your garden group that.  It really only penetrates an inch or so at the edges and again-- no one is eating anything from the boxes.  Not that it would matter even if they did.

Oh man, the old CCA. When I was a wee lad in the mid 80s, I lived near L.A. and drove truck for a lumber company. One of the places I had to occasionally haul out of was the processing plant that made the CCA lumber. i could only get about half of the board feet of a usual load because the wood was so wet, still dripping with the chemical soup. Nasty stuff indeed.

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Paco

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #477 on: May 24, 2018, 07:07:42 PM »

It's a funny coincidence y'all have so much bamboo going. I just did a major exterior renovation and part of that was the plant situation which had been mostly ignored for a couple of years. i sort of considered trying bamboo but wasn't sure it was viable here in dayton. I think I'm glad I didn't after reading everyones problems in getting rid of it.
I had the same issue with Mulberry and Honeysuckle that had grown out of control for 20 years or so. I had 6 Mulberry trees that were 20-40 feet tall and enough Honeysuckle to choke the Budweiser Clydesdales.
After getting it cut down I was given some Herbicide from an Arborist I know which is specific to woody plants. He told me the proper chemical name but needless to say, you can't get this stuff from Lowes. Put it on grass, flowers, weeds, it won't do anything. But if you paint a ring around the trunk of an existing tree or the top of a stump thats leftover, thats it. In a matter of days or a week, it's as dead as....dead.
 
I'm curious if it would work on bamboo. Probably not, since bamboo is technically a grass, correct?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 07:10:01 PM by Paco »
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #478 on: May 28, 2018, 08:43:13 PM »

I mean, Roundup will do a number on most anything.  If you want to spray a shit ton of it into a grove, clear out what gets killed, spray again, clear, spray, etc. three or four times and each time did out as many rhizomes as you can, you can clear that area.

The problem is, it spreads so fast that as you are clearing that area it has sent runners out and has started growing somewhere else.  It is hard to keep pace with it.  The bigger problem is your neighbors.  You can only kill up to your property line.  If your neighbors are growing it, it comes right back.  People sue each other for tens of thousands of dollars over this stuff.

I saw a House last year when I was house hunting and the neighbors were growing bamboo as a privacy hedge on 2 of the 4 sides.  I told my realtor I was out immediately.

My neighbors had a mulberry tree in their backyard.  It was a total trash tree that needed to come down, but because no one ever lived there long or it was rented, they never did it.  The tree would grow up into my roof and also shade out my back yard completely.  I had to get it trimmed to the property line every year even though it was not my tree.

Right after I moved, a giant limb fell off that tree into my yard.  No one did a thing about it.  I had to call my buyer and have him call the city to get the limb cleared out.  It was sitting there resting on a power line.  I had to talk to my other neighbor and she was like, that explains why we keep losing power every few hours.  Idiots.  It was a good thing I came back to drop off the keys or it would have been that way for a month.


Zafer Kaya

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #479 on: May 28, 2018, 09:26:42 PM »

I went to war with the Bermuda grass this weekend.  I pounded in some edging to separate it from the lawn.  The first step is always containment. 

Then I started digging with a trowel.  I would dig down about 6 inches, hoping to get under the rhizomes and runners, then just pry up.  Then I could kind of reach underneath and grab the runners and pull until I got to a rooted node, then dig again.  It was a nightmare.  I pretty much ended up just redigging 1/3 of that bed... with a trowel.

But I feel like I took out a lot more than grew this year.  I dug out tons of those nasty nodes that had dozens of roots and runners shooting off in every direction.  I am sure there are dozens of tiny rhizome bits in the ground that will regrow, but they are pullable now.  They are not attached to three feet of roots and rhizomes in a crisscrossing network.  As long as I weed properly with a trowel and not just pulling by hand, I can get them out.

There’s one spot where the grass is too thick and it is between some plants and I can’t really get to it or dig too deep.  I am going hit it with Roundup, which sucks but oh well.  I looked at my gardening pledge and it is actually kind of wishy-washy.  It doesn’t say no chemicals.  It says “Minimize the use of chemicals.”  If I spend 15 hours hand clearing an area of Bermuda grass and I need to hit like a 1.5 square foot area with Round Up one time to clear it enough to never need Round up again, I call that “minimizing.”

There’s another, huge area that has a bigger Bermuda grass problem but I have lots of space between fairly vertical plantings, so I’m just going to give that the tarp treatment.

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