Question of the Week
Answer: Bermudagrass is one of the most challenging pests in sustainable agriculture. Use of the herbicide Sethoxydim should reduce the initial infestation, and following up with the subsequent recommendations will eliminate the need for further use of herbicides in the future. The use of an oil concentrate with the product is recommended for additional benefit. Remember to read the label and follow all recommendations. It is important that the applicator wear personal protective equipment such as goggles, rubber gloves, rubber boots, and overalls.
Follow up practices include:
• Solarization for control of seeds and heavily infested areas. Be persistent in digging up stolon and rhizomes after the control process.
• Black plastic and weed fiber can suppress surviving stolon and rhizomes.
• Cover cropping with sorghum-sudangrass and a legume like cowpea in the summer can outcompete and smother non-cropped areas.
• Plant a native hedgerow on the periphery border to deter the surrounding grass from creeping back in. A hedgerow will add diversity, increase wildlife and insect habitat to your farm or garden. Hedgerow options include:
Ageratina havanensis (Havana snakeroot) – 2 to 6 feet tall, deciduous
Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) – 3 to 5 feet tall, deciduous
Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood) – 3 to 10 feet tall, deciduous
Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) – 12 to 25 feet tall, can be trimmed to hedge, evergreen
Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) – 3 to 5 feet tall, evergreen
Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) - 3 to 8 ft., evergreen
Senna lindheimeriana (velvet leaf senna) – 3 to 6 feet tall, deciduous
Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) - 5 to 10 feet tall, evergreen
Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)
Rhododendron maximum (great laurel)
Ilex glabra (inkberry)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Juniperus virginiana (eastern red cedar)
The publication Market Farming with Rotations and Cover Crops: An Organic Bio-Intensive System, from the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, includes a section on dealing with bermudagrass that you should find very informative.
Learn more in the ATTRA publication Sustainable Weed Management for Small and Medium-Scale Farms. This publication discusses several strategies, both proactive and reactive, as alternatives to conventional tillage systems. Options include mulching, competition, crop rotations, and low-toxicity control alternatives.
Note: The mention of specific brand names or products is for educational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by NCAT, ATTRA, or USDA.
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