Battling invasive bermuda grass
I recently moved into our house in Frederick. Something like Bermuda grass is taking over. The roots go inches into the ground and are very thick in the lawn and in the beds. I don't have the time or money to completely eradicate it, but I would like to plant ground covers and other perennials that can compete with it. Any other suggestions would also be welcome. There is a lot of clover in the lawn and violets in the beds. I don't want to lose those are other plants by spraying. Any suggestions? I have a small, mostly sunny yard. THANK you so much!!!!
Frederick County Maryland
There is nothing that is going to out-compete Bermudagrass. Some groundcovers may be able to co-exist as they slug it out. Choose ones that make the thickest root masses, such as lady ferns or Siberian iris. Don't plant other foreign invasive plants such as English ivy, pachysandra or vinca. Taller groundcovers may shade it.
In lawns, the only way to get rid of it is to kill the entire lawn (with a glyphosate herbicide) and reseed. Now is the time to start that process, because early fall is the best time to seed a lawn. Here is how to do a successful renovation: http://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/HGIC_Pubs/lawn_pubs/HG102... Clover should return to the lawn, or you can seed it into the lawn.
In your beds, if you cannot pull or dig out the Bermudagrass, you can dig up the plants you value--carefully removing ALL Bermudagrass roots--kill the Bermudagrass with a glyphosate product (you may have to spray twice a couple of weeks apart), and then replant.
We do not recommend using chemicals lightly, but in some situations that can be all that works. You'll have to weigh a one time application of herbicide against an ecosystem dominated by foreign invasive plants.
There is a link to our list of recommended groundcovers on this page: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/flowers/groundcovers The junipers will co-exist with the Bermudagrass. No matter what you plant, the Bermudagrass will keep growing up through it and be a nuisance unless you just eliminate it altogether.
It's a challenge all right.
Glad we could be of service.