Wire Grass and Mulberry Trees, Argh

Asked August 5, 2013, 8:25 PM EDT

My two biggest problems are wire grass and mulberry trees. Both seem to come up near plants or trees I don't want to lose, and I can never get rid of them! How can I eradicate these scourges?

Kent County Delaware

1 Response

HI Christy-
You have chosen two of the most difficult invasive plants to try to eradicate, we have problems with them also.
Mulberries are spread by birds, in the spring and early summer, the trees have thousands of sweet berries the birds eat then fly to another tree and drop the seeds which sprout and grow the little tree with the long yellow taproot, that is why the weeds grow near the base of a tree. I usually have to dig them with a small shovel or if the mulberry is still small, hand pulling. The wire grass is another problem that is very difficult to eradicate. When you try pulling them they break off from the rhizome and in a few days they grow back. The way that homeowners can rid themselves of this invasive species is to spray with glysophate. it will take several applications. One good thing is that this time of the year plants are storing food in their roots in preparation for winter and will tend to take in more of the weed killer. Write down where the wiregrass was growing so that next year you can watch to see it as soon as it reappears usually when it gets warm and then you can spray it again while small. Glysophate needs to be sprayed on the green part of the plant so it can be sprayed on the mulberry leaves also if they are not too tall.
There are corn based pre emergent herbicides that you can use in the spring to prevent seeds of the mulberry and Bermuda grass from sprouting, but they too have to be reapplied. Be certain that you read the directions on the label to safely apply these chemicals.
Good luck
Kent County Master Gardener Beverly