Friday, May 15, 2009

Unwanted grass in ornamental grasses / perennial beds

Toward the end of last summer I was plagued by unwanted grass growing up through ornamental grasses. It was in some of my perennial bedding plants, too. This grass--tall, narrow leafed, fast growing--wasn't just growing near my other plants, it was growing up inside them, so that pulling out the unwanted grass meant pulling out the ornamental as well. During winter clean-up I cut the grasses and border perennials back to the crown after they'd died off. And so this spring, when I noticed the unwanted grass greening out long before anything else, I decided to do something to get rid of it.

But what to do? I stewed about it a couple of days and decided, despite my organic leanings, I'd need to use a contact herbicide like Round-Up. But how to apply it without killing the "good" plants? I put a waterproof dish glove on one hand and then pulled an old cotton sock over the glove. I wetted the sock--the palm and fingers of the glove--with herbicide and then ran my gloved hand over the long grass, from stem to leaf, grasping it like I was going to pull it out and coating the leaves with the chemical. Because the herbicide was applied only to the grass leaves and didn't touch the "good" plants, it worked like a charm. This week the good plants are budding out, free of that unsightly grass.

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