Monday, July 19, 2010

Bermuda in St. Augustine

Bill, They can send a man to the moon but I have been told there is not a way to kill common bermuda grass growing in St. Augustine grass. Is this true? I was told the only way I could get rid of the bermuda grass was to pull it up and because the bermuda grass has rhizomes that this was not a sure thing. Please help. Thanks!

Unfortunately, this is a truth that haunts many of Lowcountry gardeners and gardeners throughout the area where St. Augustine grass is grown. Bermudagrass is flat out hard to kill, and if you do not kill it all, bermudagrass will quickly re-grow. With the deep runners, pulling it would be a waste of time.

In the old days there was a product called Asulox that had a label for killing common bermudagrass out of St. Augustine grass. The treatment involved several applications at certain intervals; however, their label does not make that claim anymore and is labeled for Sod Farms only.

I was a consultant for the government on one job that we tried Asulox, and after multiple applications, I can see why the manufacturer removed common bermudagrass from the label. The herbicide would knock the bermuda back some then the bermuda would be back with a vengeance.

The only way I recommend getting rid of bermudagrass in St. Augustine grass now is to kill them both with a slow acting Roundup or glyphosate product. Stay away from the new quick killing products and use the old slow killing formulations. This application is going to kill your St. Augustine grass too. Plan to spray several times over a few months to get all the bermudagrass. Be patient! Killing bermudagrass is not an easy task or a fast task. If you have a professional do the work, allow him or her plenty of time to do it right; otherwise, in a very short period of time, your grass will be invaded by bermudagrass once again.

On another St. Augustine grass note, chinch bugs are out in full force. I saw a yard yesterday that had a patch of crabgrass and the chinch bugs had sucked the life out of all the St. Augustine grass in the yard around this one patch of crabgrass. It was really too bad because this is normally a beautiful St. Augustine grass lawn.

On Saturday, we had a few calls on the radio about lawn shrimp.

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.