removing grass from between plants

hello,
i planted new plants (banana, bird of paradise, traveler's palms) three weeks ago. was going to mulch around them afterwards, but never got to it.
the grass is now very high.
what is best way to get rid of it? don't want to "roundup" for fear of the obvious.
it there a tool i can use? i have seen the "garden weasel" and garden claw" on telivision and am wondering if one of these would be useful.
the grass is bahia, which has deep roots.
i like the grass and i don't like mulch. but i can't think of a way to keep the grass surrounding these plants short. can you?
mike
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Other than mulch or landscape fabric, the best way to deal with weeds is with 3 essential tools:
1) http://www.gardeners.com/Swan-Neck-Hoe/default/StandardCatalog.GardeningTools_LaborSaving.34-526.cpd This counts as two tools, since there's a short hand-held version available as well, although I don't see it at this site. Either one skims just beneath the surface, slicing off the tops. Some weeds will be killed this way, and some won't, but the tool's still worth having.
2) http://www.seedsofchange.com/garden_center/product_details.asp?item_no=S16245&q=+knife That is by far the single most useful tool I've ever used in the garden. Totally indestructible. Stab straight down next to a deeply rooted weed, twist & lift, and the weed's history. Buy it now.
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mike wrote:

If the grass is tall, lay it down, cover it with cardboard (you may have to cut pieces that fit with the plants), cover the cardboard with mulch. The grass will exhaust itself trying to push up the existing stem. If you cut it first, it will have a higher chance of punching through the cardboard.
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Get the ground soaking wet or wait until a good rain, hand pull the grass, then mulch.
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