Sunday, May 5, 2013

Grass Grows Greener Closer to Your Plants

It's that time of year. Grass is getting ready to take over the gardens of the world.

My favorite edging is called English Edging, or Victorian Edging or
Trench Edging. Using a flat spade, dig a trench and lay the grass over atop
itself. The top layer will smother the grass underneath and its root cannot
grow up into the air so it dies, too.

The same edging trench after sprigs of grass trying to return a a few
 weeds are removed. The edges are squared with shears or a straight edged
half-moon cutter. Shears give a quick edge. Grass cannot jump the trench
but it will crawl down and across if not kept trimmed.
Flowers pictured are pink Spirea and Pentas.
The Cycad at upper left will soon have new fronds.

In late fall I stockpile Pine Straw at the end of a nearby bed
that I might want to extend. Much of what was here has been
used already. Need some English Edging here.

Last summer when I wasn't looking, grass crawled up and all over this bed. I dug it out, moved Daylilies from front to back and had a neat edge until Spring came. You can see where grass is thinking about crawling; time to make a straight edge.

Another edging need. There's Chartreuse Alternanthera to plant next
Purple Heart, then a trench.

What I call the Fiesta bed has Esperanza and Pride of Barbados, both die back to the roots. Half-hearted cardboard and mulch has blown around, grass has sprouted and some voluteer Catchfly and Larkspur are about to bloom.

Cultivators are helpful in digging out grass. Bermuda roots go deep and require a grubbing hoe/mattock. I save cardboard cartons and kraft paper packing.

Bermuda grass is tenacious, roots go deep. Bahia Grass grows shorter roots but has huge culms.

I fit as close around plants as I can so that grass cannot find a peephole. Grass tends to try to reach a spot to get sunlight.

Second year Pride of Barbados seedling, now cleared of grass and mulched.
Weeds in background must be trenched out.

Bright green Plant at upper left is Esperanza Tecoma stans with a Caesalpina growing next to it. If I can just get the grass around them dug out once, they'll soon shade the ground too much for it to return.
I had a short time to work on this bed, so I made sure the 3 young Caesalpinas were taken care of first, left a clump of Larkspur and a Catchfly plant. There was also Nutgrass in this bed. Pulling it leaves some of the 'nuts' but they will not sprout back if they have no light.

Looks like a busy week. Dig, dig, dig. Pull, pull, pull. Spade, spade, spade.

Video on Removing Grass

This man just makes it look too easy. Of course his grass is growing in loose friable soil. Mine is growing in packed sand along the edge and wants to crawl up and into my flowers.


  1. I have always used newsprint but this year I have been using cardboard and so far I am loving how well it is working.. I hate nut grass it has taken over one entire bed.. DANG IT !
    hugs, Cherry

  2. I save newspapers for mulching. I could use you here! I am planning to get outside today and do some more weeding. The day promises to be perfect for that. The soil is still too wet to work in the garden proper.

    I like the English method of edging but currently use the string trimmer held at an angle to cut into the dirt.

  3. So many things for us gardeners to do. Bermuda grass is just hateful. It's so difficult to remove.

  4. This makes me anxious about the flower beds I left behind in Georgia. I use mulch extensively here in Washington but cardboard and newspaper tend to blow away in our yards in Georgia.

  5. I know all too well the grass is so easy to overlook in the winter and now I am fighting it terribly.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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