Saturday, July 30, 2011

Killing Bermudagrass that invaded a strawberry patch

I sprayed my strawberry patch earlier today to rid it of invading Bermudagrass. Over the next three weeks the Bermudagrass will yellow and hopefully die. The product I used was Monterey’s Grass Getter containing Sethoxydim. Sethoxydim is available from numerous companies and sold under numerous brand names at your local nursery or garden center.

Bermudagrass on the left;  Nutsedge on the right.
 Sethoxydim can be sprayed over and near many vegetables as well as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, flowers, shrubs, and trees. There is a waiting period between spraying Sethoxydim and harvesting the fruit or vegetable and that information is given in the product brochure.

Another over-the-top spray contains Fluazifop P Butyl. Products containing this active ingredient is commonly used to take grasses out of flowers and shrubs. These products are labeled for some edible crops to include ornamental strawberries but not on strawberries you eat.

My strawberry patch has finished bearing for the year, so this was a good time to spray it to take out Bermudagrass. This patch also has some nutsedge. Sethoxydim will not kill nutsedge so I’ll have to pull this by hand. Bermudagrass is much harder to control by pulling due to its very extensive and deep root system. If you are an organic gardening you’re out of luck.

There is no organic product that works the way Sethoxydim does. To remove Bermudagrass out of an organic strawberry patch you will need to dig it out.

After the grass has died back, I’ll mow the strawberry patch and fertilize. The mowing will remove dead and dying leaves that will serve as a source for strawberry disease organisms for next year. I’ll set the height of cut to remove the leaves but not damage the crown of the plants. The nitrogen fertilizer will stimulate new leaves and buds for next year’s crop. These steps will ensure I have a great harvest again next year.


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