Sunday, September 14, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Put a halt to running grasses

Clumps of running grasses depend on a deep root system to stimulate fast growth and travel. SHNS photo

SH13B151YARDSMART Feb. 18, 2013 -- Clumps of running grasses depend on a deep root system to stimulate fast growth and travel. (SHNS photo courtesy Maureen Gilmer)

By Maureen Gilmer

While a student in the 1970s, I was faced with caring for a project where black plastic was laid over an old lawn and the whole thing covered with bark as a low-maintenance, water-conserving yard alternative.

By the time I came onto the scene, the running grasses were traveling up to 10 feet in the dark under that plastic as they sought light at its edges. The few creeping junipers that were planted through the plastic became nests of runner grasses after the first growing season. It was irreparable. The whole project had to be thrown out so the old lawn could be removed properly to prevent such rapid reinfestation of aggressive running grasses.

For projects where the lawn is removed in favor of more water-conserving surfacing, the removal of running grasses becomes very important. Failure to get them out means that such pernicious plants will inevitably rise again to infest your new surface. To avoid this, it’s vital to remove grass properly so it won’t come back.

Out west and in the South, Bermuda grass is a good example because it grows virtually everywhere and travels almost as fast as I can walk. This grass and its kin demonstrate the characteristics of other running-grass species as well.

Bermuda is composed largely of thick, ropy runners that are very hard to break. This is key to its spread and establishment. Each original plant is composed of a bundle of deeper feeder roots. From the root crown at the surface extend traveling stems. Stolons grow on top of the ground and rhizomes underground. Both of these are segmented by regularly spaced growth nodes, with each able to produce roots, shoots or both.

A single stem may be over a foot long, with many rooting points along its length. Try to pull it by hand and it breaks at the weakest node, leaving all the others steadfastly rooted. Each root or stem left behind can create a whole new plant. That’s why established runner grasses and their cousins in turf grass are so hard to remove permanently without chemicals.

Translocated herbicides such as Roundup remain perhaps the best solution to permanent running-grass removal because they kill right down to the root tips. The process takes about two weeks from the date of application to completely finish the job. The herbicide is applied to green leaves, which take it in through their natural processes. Then it moves throughout the rest of the plant. This ensures that no roots left in the ground will root and start the invasion all over again.

The more actively growing the grass is, the better it’s able to take up and translocate the herbicide thoroughly. Therefore, it must be applied during the growing season. If done in late spring, when the grasses are growing rapidly, they are still relatively small and easier to coat with spray. Some folks have discovered that watering and fertilizing plants and weeds before applying the herbicide helps the chemical to better enter and travel throughout the entire grass. When applied when grasses are becoming dormant or are already browned by frost, such an herbicide won’t work at all.

Removing an old lawn can be a challenge, but if you plan to take a month or more to get it done, you will find a much cleaner environment to begin a green, low-maintenance landscape.

First apply the herbicide to a growing green lawn. Do not water for a day or two after application to make sure the chemical remains on the lawn. Wait two weeks for full results. Once all has turned brown, dig out the remnants. Then till the area to bring everything to the surface that has been lying dormant. You may choose to water at this stage to encourage new growth for the second application of the herbicide.

While I am not keen on garden chemicals, runner grasses are an exception. Take your time in removing the old lawn and you’ll save yourself many hours of weeding in the seasons to come.

Comments

comments

Scripps Howard News Service

.

News

Psychologist casts doubt on Marsh insanity defense

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Looking for a few good residents

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Well levels drop around the county as drought presses on

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Snyder pleads no contest in UCD explosives case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

Video shows slaying of British aid worker

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Try yoga, meditation at Holistic Health Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Sign up now for free Community Yard Sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Friday night robbery leads to arrests, dog bite

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A2

Bob Dunning: Now the weather nut is all grown up

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

 
Portuguese breakfast set in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Youths can learn from DHS cheerleaders

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
West Nile virus holds strong in Davis area

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Davis Neighbors’ Night Out brings residents together

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Saylor meets constituents at Peet’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Hawaiian Luau set at Covell Gardens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Memorial playground approaches goal

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

 
Logos plans four events for October

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

White, Gaard will lead Yolo Superior Court in 2015-16

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Fourth annual Capay Crush celebrates farm life

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Climate change rally planned in Central Park

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Downtown history tour planned in October

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Gibson House hosts plant sale and workshop

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Farmers Market sets Fall Festival

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Renée Thompson to discuss her novel for Woodland Reads project

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Day of the Dead altar makers sought

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

MCCC will present justice awards at luncheon

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
New class offers parenting strategies

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Genealogy club presents virtual tour of local resource

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
University Farm Circle reaches out to newcomers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

Garden doctor: Our trees are getting thirsty

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Public invited to 2014 Yolo Aging Summit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

.

Forum

They don’t want him around

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A5

 
Unexpected treasures from the summer

By Marion Franck | From Page: A5

Preventing RSV infections in our kids

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
She’s getting all the blame

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

The sacrificial lamb on the altar of denial

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A5

 
Is history repeating itself?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Time for a progressive PD

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
A bad vote for our water

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Bloggers, beware: They might be out to get you

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A12

 
Bob Englehart cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

Davis has options on innovation

By Our View | From Page: A12

 
Archer has worked hard for us

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A13

 
.

Sports

Unlikely hero powers Republic in playoff opener

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
No more FBS, but UCD’s tough schedule continues

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

DHS boys get a nice win with two big games looming

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Vintage pounds DHS on the ground

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Aggie offense is there, but UCD can’t stop Rams

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
JV Blue Devils drop a high-scoring affair

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B3

UCD roundup: Dons do just enough to edge Aggie women

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Blue Devils net a tournament win at home

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Baseball roundup: A’s get a much-needed win in Seattle

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Features

.

Arts

Apply now for Davis Community Idol

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

Nugget Markets’ cheese specialists achieve certified professional status

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Talks continue for proposed Old Soul site

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

 
University lights way for hospital energy savings

By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A14 | Gallery

Davis leaders celebrate Engage3′s advances

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

 
Doby Fleeman: The opportunity is ours

By Doby Fleeman | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Virnelle Triebsch

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, September 14, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8