Grass growing though chicken wire covering bulbs, best way to deal with it?

I expanded my front flowering bed about two feet. I used my tiller, tilled through it once, then added compost and lots of old potting soil that had a lot of peat in it (was out of peat), and tilled again, also used the edger. Then I planted my spring bulbs, daffodils, tulips, crocus, muscari.
Now new grass is growing up through the chicken wire in the new area. I covered everything with that but the daffs, anemones, and muscari to keep the squirrels and chipmunks when they come out of hibernation from digging them up.
Am I just going to have to pull it up, little clump by clump? I was thinking after the bulbs have bloomed in spring, foliage died and been given a spring feeding to cover that part with heavy black plastic until the next spring if I can't get it under control. It's an area I have had to water constantly, so I think maybe the plastic wouldn't trap too much moisture that could rot the bulbs but am not sure about that.
Any better ideas? I'm mad at myself for not at least trying stripping off the sod first and tilling it all up instead, and it made for tough going combined with tree roots from my clump of birches nearby. It has been covered with an old wide board for a border for two years now until I could figure out what I want to do about a more pleasing, more permanent border and get around to doing it.
I would like to be able to remove the chicken wire at some point, but am afraid if I don't, the critters will just dig them up in a subsequent year. I read that bulbs will grow through the chicken wire and flower. I could cover it with a layer of topsoil, but that won't solve the grass problem. Right now, it's just on the surface secured with u-shaped landscape pins.
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Hettie wrote:

If it is regular "chicken" chicken wire you probably won't have to worry about taking it up -- it is so thin that, buried, it should rust away on its on in short order. When I tried to prevent digging creatures (including a very determined 100+ pound Lab) from getting to my bulbs I used welded reinforcing mesh with fairly tight openings. The shoots from the bulbs always did well enough finding their way through the openings. The mesh was under the bark chip mulch so that it could, with much trouble, be pulled up and then put back. Sometimes this material can be found as surplus in stainless steel and this should last virtually forever but even the regular steel will last for a decade or more.
As for the grass, if it were mine I would [cue the wails, moans, and gnashing of teeth] carefully spray it with a light dose of glyphosate herbicide while the bulbs are dormant. Since these materials are absorbed by foliage and break down rapidly the bulbs should suffer no damage.
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John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
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John McGaw wrote:

At last, thank you. I felt like an idiot with the dumb question of the year, but it has kind of been a setback for me, 2 beds like that. I can rip up the wire and try to pull the grass when there is more to grab, or little by little like I do everything else and tack the wire down again. Let it go for now, winter is coming, and what little grass is there now shouldn't hurt tulips next spring (the other bulbs naturalize in it anyway). Then I will need some kind of barrier edging or it will creep right back in.
As a last resort I will try the spray while the bulbs are dormant. I don't like sprays and chemicals, but after a very bad year on all fronts, I must do something. And thanks for the concrete reinforcing wire suggestion. I suppose it doesn't cut with my tin snips like the chicken wire. What do you cut yours with? A torch?
I googled and found cardboard, landscape cloth (have both of those), could try that when the bulb foliage dies back and cover it with mulch, but it takes a whole year to kill grass and then some. This is the nice kind, too.
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Hettie wrote:

The best tool I've found for cutting regular concrete reinforcing grid is a set of heavy nippers -- the wire would just chip the blades on tinsnips and bolt cutters seem an extreme step. I have 12" nippers which do service cutting heavy wire and there are few tools better for pulling nails. One thing to keep in mind when selecting the wire, of course, is what you want to keep out -- a chipmunk can fit through a really small hole. Luckily I didn't have them to contend with where I was -- mostly just squirrels and my lab (moose frequented the yard but seemed to prefer eating my trees and bushes and digging just isn't their forte).
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John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
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John McGaw wrote:

I appreciate the advice and do need better cutters, just took some back that I couldn't squeeze hard enough, cheap things, useless to me. I do have a lot of chipmunks so maybe the reinforcing wire would be hard to find or not available that small of a gauge. At least the chipmunks hibernate during the winter starting about mid October so no worry about them now, but they are more of a nuisance than the squirrels when they wake up in the spring. But they're cute, but annoying when they wrecked a bunch of freshly planted seeds and seedlings. So I have to cover everything with either chicken wire or rocks or keep them high enough away from them. They seem to leave most of it alone now, and I feed them, but they are proliferous and greedy little things. Feeding them is almost worse because then they want to go and bury as fast as they can.
No reason I can't just lay down fresh chicken wire from time to time. I see my neighbors growing some of this stuff, wonder if they put the thought into it I have, mostly daffs and hyacinths and a few crocus are all I've seen. I want my tulips to come back and multiply if I can coax them into doing it.

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John McGaw wrote:
Once the bulbs are up so I know where they are (I marked many but not precisely enough and not the tinier ones), I can use a claw or pointy weeding tool, or an old knife, if I don't go too deep, just lift up the chicken wire and put the staples back in when I'm done. I hope anyway.
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wrote:

Would a soap based spray work? Safer brands have such stuff. Strictly kills by drying out what it gets on.
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Charles wrote:

That might work. I'll see what I can find about that. Thank you. We're supposed to get snow, but early snows melt off pretty fast generally. I can lay down some landscape cloth for the winter, too, but I doubt it will be down long enough to be completely effective, but it should help some. There's more lurkin' under there, I just know it.
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I'd put down about eight inches of loose fallen leaves over the surface. It'll smother the grass but become leafmold before the bulbs are ready to sprout. If can't get quite so many leaves, about six inches of straw will smother the grass and protect the bulbs, but will likely have to be raked off & composted when its time for the bulbs to sprout, as straw doesn't break down on the surface as nicely as do leaves. The one problem with this might be that the more common muscaris will be sprouting NOW instead of the spring, so any grass-smothering will have to be done after spring bulbs are dying back.
The suggestion that glyphosate is a good option "while bulbs are dormant" is pretty lousy advice even if you're not properly organic about stuff. Glyphosate needs to be applied in rather warm weather to work at all, & is not very good at killing sod even when the temperature is warm.
-paggers
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paghat wrote:

Thanks for the heads up on the glyphosate. And the leaves. Do I have leaves? Tons of them. We are going to try to mulch what's left of mine with the mower, weather permitting, (whole back yard and terrace covered) but I'm eyeing my neighbor's oak leaves to make leaf mold because that is supposed to be better than my mostly maple leaves with crab and apricot (the birch always mostly blow away in front). So that is a good idea, but they will blow away so I would have to use more chicken wire, no biggie, have a big roll of the 24".
The wind piles them up in some places, so those are the ones I raked and threw in the cages, too thick for the mower to go through. A lot of the neighbors' blow onto my side sidewalk for some reason as if I don't have enough of my own.
The only thing is when I planted the muscari not too long ago, a couple bulbs had already sprouted in the package, hope that doesn't ruin them, never tried them before.
I'll have to think about it. Maybe I'd better wait until they die back in the spring. I have two huge cages to collect leaves in to scatter around in the spring. But they will be pretty broken down by spring.
It is snowing, but it will melt off I think.

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