Bermuda Grass Blues

Hey folks.  I am running in ultimate slow motion today.  It took me 3 full cups of coffee to begin to feel semi-conscious today (I max out at 1 cup 99% of days, and no, it’s not related to a wild Friday night…I paid bills and wrote lists of things to do.  Hooray).


How about you?  Full speed ahead?


I received a call recently about how to get rid of Bermuda grass, and whether I might be the right person to hire to help with this issue (probably not, unless you  have a limitless budget).  Cue a sad song before reading the rest of this post.




Bermuda grass is a fierce enemy, especially if you are adding any supplemental water to your space.  I wouldn’t say it’s a totally hopeless cause, especially if you dedicate some time and effort over a number of years.  But you’re not just going to pop out there this afternoon and take care of business.  I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  Here’s what I know about Bermuda grass: I’ve seen the roots go down at least 6′, it spreads by rhizomes (tendrils that spread near the surface of the ground), and it will come back up through a 6″ concrete slab.  I’m not in the habit of using expletives on the blog, but if I did, they would be aimed at this gem of a plant.


The only bit of advice I have is to keep digging the roots out as deep as you can (do not use a “hula hoe” – pointless) and then keep after the new bits as they come back until the plant has less and less vigor.  And, super important, pick up after yourself.  All those pieces of Bermuda that you pull up have the ability to start their own new and fantastic life!  So, another key point, using a weed whacker on Bermuda grass is a bad, bad, bad idea.  The ol’ whacker is an awesome way to make your problem worse, because you’re flinging those bits into new and potentially unclaimed territory.  Same goes for a rototiller.


Some people say Round Up works.  I disagree.  Well, I take that back.  If you used Round Up exactly the way you’re supposed to (early in the morning, right humidity and temperature, indirect sunlight, directly on leaves) and reapplied multiple times a year for multiple years, you would probably see some decent progress.  Bonus, you’ll have moderately toxic soil and a potentially sterile yard for years to come.  Party time! (Have those one-piece strapless jumpsuits come back yet?)


Here are some suggestions I’ve come across that might work:

*Pour a 12″ slab of concrete

*Split an atom in your yard

*Have a plane drop some Napalm


You’ll find tons of other suggestions on the web that may or may not work (probably not).  So, to reiterate, either start digging and keep digging, or get in the habit of mowing it down until the end of time if you don’t have the days/months/years to care.


Ta, DAH!  I know.  Remember the sad song?  I meant it.


Alright, I’m off to ponder which party pants I’m wearing to the Neko Case show tonight!  Have a super duper evening.







1 Comment
  1. I think a three-pronged approach works best: ripping, poisoning, and baking. I.e 1. spend a whole day digging it up as gingerly as you can, 2. Hit it with roundup to weaken it, and 3. cover it with black plastic (weighted down) in the early summer to finish it off with heat and suffocation. Remove plastic before the first rains, Return to spot apply roundup to regrowth over the course of the monsoon and early fall. 47 days is roundup’s halflife, so by the end of the winter, most will have decomposed, resulting in a healthy, relatively Bermuda-free soil for the next spring.

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