Remove Grass or Kill it????

I have an area in the shape of a strip with a few trees and shrubs and would like to eliminate the grass that fills in the rest of the area and cover with mulch. Do I have to remove all the grass or can I kill it off instead? Thanks for any answers.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

And be prepared to re-dose the tougher plants that poke thru the mulch.
--
Mark

The truth as I perceive it to be.
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Mark, good news that we can do that. One respondent suggested the chemical glyphosphate (possibly in Roundup). Do you agree? Also any disadvantage to using two layers of weedblock fabric and would it help to curtail the tougher plants? Thanks for your information.
Sherry
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Well, how about both for an answer? Here's what you do....
1) Save up a BUNCH of newspapers. Have your friends and family do the same. You want only the printed section -- i.e., the black and white section where they have the news.
2) Do a good and low cutting of the grass in the strip. Bag and/or rake your clippings as normal.
3) Take the newspaper you've saved up and put it down over top of the grass. The desired thickness is right about 8 sheets, give or take a few.
4) Spread your clippings over the newspaper (no particular thickness -- just good for soil).
5) Cover with about 4 inches of mulch (don't crowd the tree trunks of course -- you don't want to cause rot).
6) Fluff the mulch every few days or so (use a rake to sort of flip it).
7) Wait until next spring and plant as normal.
This technique WILL work and it works just fine. You may want to toss a little nitrogen down on the mulch after a while (use corn gluten) to help replenish what will be taken out of the soil as it decomposes but that's about all there is to it. This will effectively kill just about anything there, most grass and weeds will not be able to come up through the paper.
In the spring, when you're ready to re-plant, your bed will be ready for you. You can till it a bit if you like, add some more nitrogen, give it a good raking, etc.
I just finished doing this on a 10'x30' strip in the front yard. Worked like a charm. I think I've had 4 or 5 dandelions poke through some spots where I pulled the newspaper up while fluffing the mulch (oops) as well as a few blades of grass under the same conditions, but other than that -- nada. Best part about it -- I haven't had to use any non-organic or herbicidal techniques to get the desired effect.
James
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James, there are 3 adults here and to tell you the truth, we have few friends (and no relatives) to help with the newspapers. Can we use less newspaper and make up the difference with weedblocker? If not, would just weedblocker fabric do just as well? We really won't be planting anything else in that strip. Thanks for your information.
Sherry
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You *CAN* but I recommend against it for 2 reasons -- first, you may later decide to put something there and that means getting it all up (a pain at the very least); second, it's the use of an inorganic solution where an organic solution is more than adequate. You may find that for this particular case it would be easiest to just buy a couple of extra Sunday papers. In my case, I used mostly a 1 month run of the Wall Street Journal -- my family saved up maybe half as much additional newspaper for me, if that -- and my project covered far more area than yours.
All in all, I have only used weedblocker fabric once in my landscape -- we have a smal pad for the central air unit and I put down weed fabric around it, covered by a few bags of landscape rocks (about 4 or 5 inches worth) to extend about a foot or two outside it. Every year I *STILL* have to get in there and pull a few weeds. Weed fabric also typically holds water and soil from runoff and such, so it's seldom an ideal long term solution IMHO.
In cases like this, I'd suggest still planting something in the area simply to enhance its interest. For example, a small strip such as the one you describe (fairly shaded, right?) would look great if filled with a few varieties of Hosta -- they're not expensive at all, require little to no upkeep, and they add something of a flair with their foliage and unique flower spike. There are also various grasses (miscanthus) that can add some vertical interest in patches where there is more sun, and a number of low-growing perennials that are suitable for bordering walkways and/or adding fragrance to an area. The options are truly limitless and a small strip like this just begs for a little bit of variety to add that additional interest.
Just something to think about. :) Good luck!
James
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On 25 Aug 2003 01:44:48 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (PaNjDeFemale) wrote:

RoundUp is probably the easiest. You need to be very careful about what/where you spray.
Another thought. Use three layers of (no color) newspaper and put the mulch on top of the newspaper. The grass and weeds will die before the newspaper rots.
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There seems to be a consensus on mainly the newspaper, also with grass killer and mulch on top. I think we know what to do now. Thanks for your information.
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Does your area have recycling depots or bins? You can get your newspapers there. You may have to pay at the depot, but if you hang out at the bins on the weekend you can ask the people dropping off old newspapers if you can have theirs for a gardening project, and get them free!
--
Jayel
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Penny, I've heard of the Grass-B-Gone but had no idea you could get it directly on your plants. I do often have weeds growing right under and through the plants, especially junipers, which we have a lot of. Others have suggested newspaper but we don't get many and don't know many who do so we may just buy some newsprint since it's a one-time job if it's available in a large roll. So meanwhile I'll hit the weeds under my shrubs. :) Thanks for your information.
Sherry
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Dan, that's a novel idea about the sunflowers but the area is in the front along a fence so we'll go with just killing off the grass with newspaper, weedblock, and if needed, grass/weedkiller and add mulch. Thanks for your information.
Sherry
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