Banish Bermuda grass for gardens

February 20th, 2013 Posted in Tours, bulbs, chickens, companion plants, early spring flowers, garden design, garden designers, lawn replace, mulch, native plants, perennials, shade plants, succulents, vegetables, winter color

Over the years, I’ve whittled away grass, because there are so many fun plants out there! I’m keen on bulbs, especially for endearing combinations, like my long-term Narcissus ‘Erlicheer’ and 3-year-old Yucca pallida.

Narcissus Erlicheer with Yucca pallida

This leucojum (Leucojum aestivum) surprised me by popping up in my Texas sedge (Carex texensis). How cute!

Leucojum with Texas sedge
Overhead in back, the Mexican plum carries on the white theme.

Mexican plum flowers Austin
Little spring starflowers (Ipheion uniflorum) touch it up with lavender in a spot that was once plain old grass.

Ipheon uniflorum

Last spring, we tackled one area where grass never had a chance as our path to the front door from the driveway.

Remove grass for path

pathway instead of grass

Recently, we completed the next step of the picture. Last year, I simply layered newspaper, compost, and mulch around the tree and thought about things. Thanks to very talented help, my little vision became real last week. In January, I’d already moved some Salvia greggiis that needed a sunnier position and added some asters to match the window bed (currently cut back, so not visible). In the next few weeks, I’ll do some “shopping” in my garden to fill it out, along with a few new nursery plants to widen the botanical adventure.

new flower bed instead of grass
The bottom slope: still thinking about that one. Already, Mexican feather grasses have seeded themselves. It may be a combo of them and more sedges.

Many times, I’ve banished St. Augustine with the newspaper (or cardboard) technique. In evil spots where Bermuda grass showed up, that’s been a task, though I will say that my newspaper technique worked well for me in a few places. An old-fashioned dandelion puller assists when a stray shows back up.

But I’m sure you all have seen something like this! Not in my garden, thank heavens; I’m very cautious about planting spiky ones if there’s even a sniff of Bermuda around.

Agave smothered in Bermuda grass
This week, Design My Yard garden designer Liz Klein joins Tom to explain how to avoid disaster when replacing Bermuda lawns with gardens.

Tom Spencer and Liz Klein
Find out how she did it in this garden makeover!

Liz Klein Design My Yard makeover

Liz Klein Design My Yard makeover

Liz Klein Design My Yard ridding Bermuda grass

Liz Klein Design My Yard makeover

On tour, Dani & Gary Moss turned an oak wilt disaster into total enchantment with wildlife gardens, a Chicksville chicken coop, and English style conservatory. When they want to add a touch of art, they make it themselves. Gary welds to suit the purpose and Dani catches the light with her stained glass. Here’s a sneak peek, but I know you’ll want to meet them in person on this year’s Austin Funky Chicken Coop tour on March 30!

Now, with this crazy warm weather, it’s tempting to add some things that really need to wait a bit. This is an excellent time to plant almost  everything–except warm soil lovers. Daphne explains why soil temperature makes a difference.

soil temperature for planting
Firespike (Odontonema strictum) is one perennial that we want to plant after the last freeze date. But it’s Daphne’s pick of the week, since gardeners like to plan ahead!

firespike Odontonema strictum
Like the ones at Dani and Gary’s, and the one I have, firespike is a dramatic addition for shade gardens. Mine didn’t even freeze back this year. In harsh winters, I thought I’d lost it. I kept my patience, and as soon as the soil warmed again, back it came!

On comebacks, Trisha shows how to extend your broccoli and fennel past the first big harvest. Plus, she explains how to deal with the pesky insects that arrived early this year to eat our food.

how to cut broccoli plants Trisha Shirey
Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda

  1. 14 Responses to “Banish Bermuda grass for gardens”

  2. By Deena O'Daniel on Feb 20, 2013

    Thanks for a great post. What is that awful grass that won’t go away – it spreads by runners that can be 5 feet long under the ground. It’s invaded my Square Foot Garden and I’m having a hard time keeping it out. I pull, it breaks or I get a long long root out and still it comes back. Help!


    Linda reply on February 21st, 2013 4:26 pm:

    Oh, that’s the dreaded Bermuda grass! Yes, you simply must get the entire root out. If you break it off, it just multiplies. Wet the bed down but not too muddy, and taking a spading fork deep into it to get them out. Keep after it! Then, mulch like crazy. Eventually you will win, but if you leave a stray one at all, then it’s a disaster again.


  3. By Carol on Feb 20, 2013

    Looking good Linda! About half of my backyard is ‘good’ St. Augustine and dogs like it. I have made a boundary with a hose of the Bermuda / bare/weeds area. Have lots of newspaper and some cardboard! Not sure how I’m going to edge and fill in all of that. Front is all St. Augustine, but I’m creating larger beds. I live in an area that still likes grass…


    Linda reply on February 21st, 2013 4:24 pm:

    Hi, Carol! We still have grass, too, partly for the dog, but also because I can only deal with so many plants! The way I’ve edged over the years is getting stones at the rock place, as many as my car could carry at a time. Put down the newspaper/cardboard and add bags of compost. The filling in part is the fun part, though I’m still figuring out how to fill in my new bed! Ah, so many decisions! And it’s okay to do a little at a time. That’s how I’ve had to do it.


  4. By Hella on Feb 21, 2013

    Your grass removal project looks wonderful! What a great addition to your property.


    Linda reply on February 21st, 2013 4:20 pm:

    Hi, Hella! Well, a lot more work to be done but that’s what gardening is all about. As you so very well know!


  5. By Daphne on Feb 21, 2013

    I always love visiting your beautiful garden here on your blog. :-)


    Linda reply on February 21st, 2013 4:20 pm:

    Well, you’ve helped make it beautiful!


  6. By Korye on Feb 23, 2013

    I believe I heard Liz endorse the use of RoundUp on today’s episode. If true, I am shocked. Please do not ever use this or similar products. They are very damaging to our soil, water supply, animal population and planet.

    I ask the staff of CTG to set this record straight.


    Linda reply on February 23rd, 2013 4:13 pm:

    Hi, Korye, normally we do not advocate herbicides or pesticides. But so many people are using Roundup so we wanted them to do it safely. Best, Linda


  7. By renee (renee's roots) on Feb 23, 2013

    Linda, thanks for sharing a peek at your garden transformation. What a lot of work you’re doing….and it sure is looking good! As for bermuda grass — well, all I can say is next to stink bugs, bermuda grass is my favorite thing to get mad about.


    Linda reply on February 24th, 2013 4:27 pm:

    Yes, me too! Bermuda and stink bugs. But YOUR garden is really the most lovely!


  8. By mary ann grohman on Mar 16, 2013

    please tell me when the segment with Monticello gardener will air? thank you


    Linda reply on March 18th, 2013 4:18 pm:

    Hi, Mary Ann! June 11. Thanks for stopping by!


Post a Comment