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Bermuda Grass Defense Plan

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mapspringer
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roaminroad
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Post  roaminroad Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:14 am

I'm new to gardening, and this is my first SFG. I hate all the bermuda grass in my yard, and want to keep it out of my Mel's Mix! Help me with some good options, please.

In my picture, you can see a 5x5 dirt square just off the concrete slab, where I dug out the grass. My idea is to fill that square with weed cloth, then cardboard, and then the bricks you can see in the picture. Once that is done, I'll put my 4x4 SFG in the middle of the bricks. This will give me a 12" buffer to see and kill any bermuda runners.

The trouble is, I wasn't thinking about how to level the bricks. Can I just tamp the dirt down well, then lay the bricks on it, or should I get some sand and make it really level? I have access to lots of free bricks. I like that I can get the raised bed up a little bit away from my soil which can get pretty soggy.

I have the supplies for a total of 3 SFGs for this spring in my garage, and want to build up to 10 4x4 SFGs over the next year. Are the bricks a good idea for Bermuda defense, or should I just lay down hardscape cloth/weed cloth and lots of cardboard with the SFG on top and forget about the bricks?

Thanks!Bermuda Grass Defense Plan Backyardsfg
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Post  kauairosina Sat Mar 01, 2014 12:52 am

My two cents is to do it all. You are so fortunate to have the bricks.  Put the weed cloth down and then the bricks.  It is probably the only way to defeat that darned grass.
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Post  sanderson Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:00 am

A layer of bricks will help elevate the area since you lowered the elevation when you removed the grass.  Lay down cardboard to block the bermuda, then bricks for elevation, then weed cloth to contain the Mel's Mix.  You will have good drainage.  That's a nice sunny yard!  sunny 

Can I make a pitch to limit one diameter to 4 feet so you can easily reach in interior??
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Post  donnainzone5 Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:55 am

What a great plan!
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Post  rabbithutch Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:08 am

@sanderson wrote:A layer of bricks will help elevate the area since you lowered the elevation when you removed the grass.  Lay down cardboard to block the bermuda, then bricks for elevation, then weed cloth to contain the Mel's Mix.  You will have good drainage.  That's a nice sunny yard!  sunny 

Can I make a pitch to limit one diameter to 4 feet so you can easily reach in interior??

As a point of clarification, I read the OP to mean that the 5x5 dimension was chosen specifically to allow a 6 inch space between the yard grass and the sides of his SFG beds, meaning that the 4x4 beds would be centered in the 5x5 space.  If I misinterpreted the post, then I will add a +1 to sanderson's suggestion.  One of the most desirable aspects of SFGing is the ease of access to the interior of the beds.
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Post  sanderson Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:43 pm

Thanks for the correction. 4' x 4' box in the 5' x 5' cleared area.
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Post  roaminroad Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:30 am

To clarify, I will have a 12" border of bricks around the 4x4 SFG...and a foam mat to protect my knees!

I happened to find some old practice putting green material at a yard sale Saturday morning before I started putting everything together, and found a use for it. Here's some pics of my progress, and a view Monday morning! I will definitely do this for my other SFGs, and flip the bricks on the north end where my trellis will go so that I can run stakes through the holes in the bricks. In this picture, don't have the proper row of bricks flipped over to show the holes inside the brick buffer area.

Bermuda Grass Defense Plan 2014-03-01%2014.13.33Bermuda Grass Defense Plan 2014-03-01%2014.17.30
Bermuda Grass Defense Plan 2014-03-01%2014.25.23
Bermuda Grass Defense Plan 2014-03-01%2015.47.46
Bermuda Grass Defense Plan 2014-03-03%2008.25.01
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Post  mapspringer Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:23 pm

I love the bricks idea, and hate is a strong word, but yes I too hate bermuda grass!
My only concern about the materials is on the astro turf.  What is the backing material?  Will it drain?  Or will it hold water?
Snow and ice be gone already!
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Post  sanderson Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:23 pm

Roaminroad, Thanks for posting update photos. Surely, the Bermuda barrier will work. I'm not sure that you have to remove the grass first, not with the set up you have going.  Bermuda Grass Defense Plan 3170584802 
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Post  rabbithutch Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:51 pm

@sanderson wrote:Roaminroad,  Thanks for posting update photos.  Surely, the Bermuda barrier will work.  I'm not sure that you have to remove the grass first, not with the set up you have going.   Bermuda Grass Defense Plan 3170584802 

+1

I agree with sanderson, but you really did a first class job removing the grass and covering with cardboard.  My guess is that the putting green material will also help to keep your bed aerated at root level.

My question is whether or not you need the bricks in the bottom of the bed.  Will they cause a problem with drainage?  Of course, I envy your easy access to quantities of brick.  I would be a bit stingier as I have to pay through the nose WHEN I can find them.

Looking good!

 Bermuda Grass Defense Plan 3170584802
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Bermuda Grass Defense Plan Empty those are great pictures

Post  kauairosina Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:20 pm

of your progress.  It is so good to see SFGs from scratch.  Was the snow from before you started?
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Post  sanderson Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:54 pm

Regarding the brick base, from my personal experience, it should drain beautifully. Because you dug a pit, the bricks should keep the box above flood level! Someone posted that they set a box on cement and the drainage was good.
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Post  roaminroad Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:39 pm

Thanks for the input! I laid the brick on a 60 degree day, and we got 4 inches of sleet on the next! I went ahead and put my empty raised beds out just to see what they'd look like. I spent some time in the garage getting my composts mixed, peat moss fluffed, and everything measured. I have a bunch of moving boxes from u-haul, and they are sized in 1, 1.5, and 3 cubic feet! They made measuring really easy! Once the ice melts, we'll be out mixing everything together.
Bermuda Grass Defense Plan 2014-03-03%2016.28.22
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Post  roaminroad Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:08 am

Here's what the beds look like finally in place. 

Bermuda Grass Defense Plan 2014-010
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:17 am

Beautiful job on the beds!  We have the curse of Bermuda Grass here also.  One of the things I have heard in another gardening forum is that using 6-8 layers of newspaper as a liner works much better than cardboard.  It forms to the earth better and smothers the weeds underneath better than the air gaps the cardboard leaves due to its stiffer nature.

Also you want to soak the paper really well.

I am going to try to reclaim an area from our "lawn" (I use the term lightly as it's mostly mown weeds, LOL!) around our trees and I'm going to use the newspaper and a very heavy layer of wood chip mulch so the trees will have better moisture retention in our hot and very dry area.
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Post  AtlantaMarie Sun Apr 20, 2014 2:53 pm

"If it's green, it is our friend." 

At least in our yard!  If we killed out all the weeds, it'd probly be a bare lot...  Or at least close to it, lol.
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Post  sanderson Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:27 pm

Roamin, Nice job!
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Post  sanderson Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:37 pm

DH and I are fixing up one of out 5 year rental properties and I'm in charge of the landscaping. One long flower bed is filled with Bermuda grass and I'm trying wet solarization on it. I watered the sandy soil well, then covered with 3 mil plastic weighed down with bricks. I will report if it works at all.
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Post  roaminroad Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:39 am

Here's a picture of our backyard 3 months after putting in our first SFG, with the brick base. As you can see, we're growing SFGs as well as plants! We now have 3 4x4s and one 4x8. I hope to have a 1x16 along the screened in porch for next summer to trellis up and provide more shade!

Our early spring crops did great! A cold snap in May hurt our summer crops really badly, and we're replanting those squares slowly.

The nice thing about the brick base is I can burn the Bermuda grass with a propane torch around the edge of the box and not worry about damaging the SFG. Makes weeding easy!

Bermuda Grass Defense Plan Photo_11
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Post  mollyhespra Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:02 am

Ooooh!  NICE JOB!!!

I was wondering how you were going to contain the runners coming into your SFG area "sideways" as opposed to from "underneath" the weed barriers, but you've answered that question with the propane torch.

Well done!!!
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Post  walshevak Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:35 am

@AtlantaMarie wrote:"If it's green, it is our friend." 

At least in our yard!  If we killed out all the weeds, it'd probly be a bare lot...  Or at least close to it, lol.

+1

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Post  sanderson Sat Jun 21, 2014 12:35 am

I see I never gave a report on solarizing the Bermuda grass.  A lot of stucco ended up on the plastic.  Where the debris was, it did not work.  Where the clear plastic was clean and secured, it worked rather well.  Not 100% but 90%.
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