How to Kill Bermuda Grass Organically

Overview

Bermuda grass is native to Africa and was introduced to the United States by way of Bermuda. In the United States, it is a popular warm-season grass. Bermuda grass spreads rapidly through runner roots and stolons. The grass can use these runners to creep under borders and into gardens or flower beds where it is not wanted. In vegetable gardens and flower beds, organic means of control work best to kill the grass without harming surrounding plants.

Mulching

Step 1

Cover Bermuda grass with five sheets of stacked newspaper or cardboard.

Step 2

Water the cardboard or newspaper to help keep it in place.

Step 3

Cover the cardboard or newspaper with an organic mulch such as peat moss, seed-free straw, pine bark or pine needle straw.

Step 4

Hand-pull any grass that attempts to become established in the layer of mulch.

Step 5

Add more layers of mulch such as shredded leaves, bark, straw or pine straw as the lower layers break down.

Cultivation

Step 1

Insert a spade vertically in the ground just outside the border of your bed or garden. This will cut the runners or stolons and keep the grass from getting energy from the parent plant.

Step 2

Loosen the soil with a garden cultivator, such as a garden fork.

Step 3

Pull Bermuda grass by hand or use a garden rake to pull up the stolons and rhizomes from the loose soil.

Step 4

Rake the soil to expose any remaining roots and pick them out of the soil by hand.

Step 5

Examine the soil daily and pull any grass and weeds that emerge from the soil. Follow these grass seedlings back to the roots and pull these roots from the ground. Until you remove all grass roots form the soil, the grass will continue to spring back from the roots.

Solarization

Step 1

Time solarization for the hottest part of the summer.

Step 2

Slightly wet the surface of your weed-filled garden soil with a garden hose.

Step 3

Cover the soil with clear plastic.

Step 4

Leave the plastic in place for four to six weeks. The plastic will heat the soil to a depth of 6 inches and kill germinating weed seed in the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not attempt to solarize gardens while you have healthy, desirable plants in the garden. Solarization will bake all vegetation in a plot, including desirable vegetation.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Peat moss
  • Seed-free straw
  • Pine bark
  • Garden spade
  • Cultivating fork
  • Garden rake
  • Garden hose
  • Clear plastic
  • Landscaping staples

References

  • University of Missouri Extension: Bermudagrass
  • Extension.org: An Organic Weed Control Toolbox
  • Texas A&M Extension: Managing Pests

Who Can Help

  • Texas Cooperative Extension: Organic Gardening--Two Points of View
Keywords: Bermuda grass, invasive weeds, organic weed control

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."