by Texas Homesteader ~
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As anyone who’s battled (and LOST) the war with Bermuda grass in their flower beds knows, it’s almost impossible to eliminate. The underground rhizomes break easily, leaving the next generation of Bermuda-grass-misery ready to thwart your best efforts again and again. But I’ve found a solution!
Protecting A Landscape Planting From Bermuda Grass
RancherMan & I had a beautiful porch extension built last year. And we landscaped it with pretty raised beds.
But wait. WHAT’S THIS??? Even though we took precautions to keep the Bermuda grass out, it tried to march into our beautiful raised beds anyway!
In researching ways to tame the Bermuda-grass, RancherMan stumbled upon a grass barrier that looked promising. It stops the underground rhizomes as well as the above-ground runners. How exciting!
I contacted the company to see if they’d be interested in sending me a sample of their product to try & review. They agreed and the barrier was sent to me promptly.
As usual, remember that just because an item is offered at no cost in exchange for my review, I owe it to my readers to be honest and open about the pros and cons of the product I’m reviewing. I always disclose to the manufacturers that I will not offer a false positive review in exchange for free product!
About The Grass Barrier
From the parent company Lewis Bamboo:
Our long lasting barrier is made in the USA from 100% recycled HDPE. Grass Barrier is not brittle like injection molded material and does not splinter like fiber and composites. Our barrier has a smooth surface for a clean appearance and doesn’t hold dirt. We use 100% HDPE plastic so our product will never rust like metal edging. Grass Shield can last over 100 years & has an ASTM D 4833 puncture resistance of 200 pound-force.
Well that sounds good to me! Let’s give it a try.
1st Grass Barrier Installation Attempt & Fail
As instructed we unrolled it in that hot Texas sun and let it relax & become more pliable. Then we easily cut it to length with an ordinary pair of tin snips.
We were instructed to use a trenching shovel to bury the barrier 6″ below the ground, leaving a 4″ lip above ground.
We were going through a terrible drought. So the ground was pretty dry and hard. So we used a flat-head trenching shovel but instead of digging an actual trench we simply cut the soil 6-8 inches down, pushing & pulling the shovel to make a narrow opening in the soil.
When the area was ready to accept the barrier we slid it into place, chunking up the hard dry soil best we could on either side to snug it in. Then we stood back & looked at our handiwork.
Hummm, those waves… RancherMan was not a fan of that look at all.
Maybe there wasn’t enough room for the barrier to settle smoothly since we cut only a narrow slit in the ground. Perhaps the soil is forcing the barrier into awkward angles?
So we pulled it all out and started over.
2nd Installation Of Grass Barrier
This time RancherMan used a sharp-shooter shovel and instead of cutting an opening we instead actually dug a flat-bottom trench 3″ to 4″ wide. We felt that would allow the barrier to bend more gently & hopefully keep the barrier from rippling.
Bury Grass Barrier 6″, Leave 4″ On Top
To keep Bermuda rhizomes from going under the barrier it’s recommended to bury it 6 inches deep. This gives a 4″ lip remaining above the ground to keep the runners from growing over the barrier & into your beds.
But RancherMan didn’t care for the look of that much barrier above ground. So we contacted the folks at Lewis Bamboo and asked them if we could install ours a little deeper.
They responded that we could, but with less than 4″ above ground we’d need to maintain the grass more often to make sure it didn’t grow over the barrier.
So RancherMan only left about 3″ above ground instead of the recommended 4″.
Grass Barrier Ripples
After installation we replaced the soil evenly on both sides as instructed on their website. The rippling was better but still very noticeable.
I asked Lewis Bamboo about this and the reply was:
I think what is causing the ripples is the soil compression during thermocycling. This should be lessened once the soil has properly settled from being excavated.
In all fairness we’ve been dealing with drought so I’m not sure how much the soil has actually settled. So I waited for several months.
Although the rippling improved, it’s still noticeable even now. I’m more interested in stopping the Bermuda grass so this small aesthetic difference is minor in our experience.
Killing The Bermuda Grass Inside The Barrier
After the grass barrier installation I used an herbicide to kill the Bermuda Grass within the barrier area.
It’s important to assure Bermuda grass is actually dead before attempting to plant your area within the grass barrier.
A one-time application will almost never actually kill Bermuda. So I waited until I saw sprouts from underground rhizomes and sprayed again.
I felt the effects of the drought kept the grass from taking in the herbicide completely. I really needed to assure the grass was dead before testing.
I actually had to spray 4 separate times after the initial herbicide spraying, so stay diligent to kill those sprouts for good before planting!
After waiting a week following the final spot spray I saw no indication of sprouting grass. So I finally moved on to the testing phase.
Testing Grass Shield For Effectiveness
We didn’t want bare ground between the barrier & the raised beds so we added shredded wood mulch in this area. It softened the look and I was hoping that filling in this area would help round out those ripples. But it doesn’t seem to have made a difference.
RancherMan suggested crushed rock or pea gravel might be better. But for now we’re using wood mulch because we can obtain it for free in our county. Plus I think it looks nice too.
But with only 3″ above ground I see the grass will easily be able to grow over the barrier if we’re not diligent with grass mowing. RancherMan’s promised to keep the grass maintained.
If we end up using gravel between the barrier & the raised beds it should make it even more difficult for grass to take hold. But be aware there’s a reason they recommend the ratio of barrier beneath vs. above ground.
For the best effectiveness and as instructed, bury 6″ underground, leave 4″ above ground.
Successful Bermuda Grass Barrier!
It appears I finally won the war against that blasted Bermuda grass in my raised beds. Hip-Hip, HOORAY!!
Even after several years I see no further resurgence of Bermuda grass sprouts inside the barrier. Nor is Bermuda grass sneaking in from beneath the barrier.
(Note: Some links in this post are for further information from earlier posts I’ve written. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click them and buy something (almost anything, not just the item noted) I could receive a tiny commission. But the price you pay will NOT change. It’s an easy way to support this blog without anything coming out of your pocket. So click often!
Grass Barrier Installation Tips From Our Experience
- Roll grass barrier out in the sun for a while to soften it somewhat & make it easier to manipulate.
- Don’t just dig a deep notch & slide the barrier in. Go head & dig a 4″ wide trench. Trust me, installation will be easier.
- When they say leave a 4″ section above ground, take their word for it. Your future maintenance will be lessened.
- In installing the grass barrier we used a paint pen line to mark the above-vs-below ground section. This made it easier for us to see when we had the barrier level.
- We installed this barrier during the heat of summer and during a wicked drought. Even watering the ground to try to soften it, we struggled. It’s much easier to install when the ground is soft, and much more pleasant to install when it’s not 100 degrees outside!
- Back-fill the excavation dirt quickly while it’s still loose to keep the dirt from drying out & becoming hard clods.
Bermuda Grass Barrier Pros & Cons
- Seems to have effectively stopped Bermuda grass from infiltrating our planting areas and raised beds even after several years.
- Low-tech and poison-free method of keeping grass out of raised beds
- Sold in assorted lengths so less need to combine lengths & make joints
- Easy to cut to the required length with ordinary cutters or razor knife
- Appears to be durable with RancherMan’s use of the weed-eater around the barrier
- To date, the barrier continues to have a ripple in its appearance.
- RancherMan’s not fond of the look of the required 4″ of barrier above ground.
All in all I’m pretty happy with this grass barrier. I’m planning to purchase more this spring to line my veggie garden where Bermuda is also a constant battle. I found this *Grass Barrier at Amazon too.
Do you face the same Bermuda grass battles? Now there’s HOPE! Feel free to contact the Grass Barrier folks (various links below). Tell ’em the Texas Homesteader sent ya!
More About Our Outdoor Living Area
- Adding An Outdoor Living Space
- Landscaping On The Cheap
- No Waste (and Less Expensive) Fill Dirt For Gardens
- Cheap (or FREE) Wood Mulch For Your Garden
- Stopping BERMUDA GRASS From Your Plantings!
- How To Keep Birds Off Your Porch Railings
NE Texas Native Trees & Plants
- Honey Locust Tree – Useless yet Useful
- Identifying A Western Soapberry Tree
- Bois d’Arc – Beautiful & Functional Tree
- Jujube Tree Produces Sweet Fruits
- Wild Plum Tree Offers Plums For Delicious Jelly
- Keeping Bermuda Grass Out Of Garden Beds
Native NE Texas Wildlife Posts
- Trapping Wild Hogs
- Wild Hogs: Making The Best Of A Bad Situation
- Adding Temporary Protection For Wild Rabbit’s Nest
- Itchy Chiggers – Separating Fact From Fallacy
- Trapping And Relocating An Armadillo
- How To Safely Catch & Relocate A Beneficial Snake
My Favorite Garden Hacks
- Easy Garden Planning Spreadsheet
- Getting A Jump: Planting An Indoor Greenhouse
- Repurposed Cardboard Seed-Starting Pots
- 3-Sister’s Garden – The Original Companion Planting
- Planting A Large Galvanized Trough
- Tricking Birds AWAY From Your Strawberry Plants
- Easy Compost For A Healthy Garden
- Propping Tender Seedlings
- Cheap (or FREE) Wood Mulch For The Garden
- Using Vining Plants For Living Mulch
- Homestead Hack: Remember Where You Planted Seeds
- How Vegetable Gardening Can Change Your Life!
- Keeping Potted Plants Watered
- Planting A Blueberry Bush In Galvanized Tub
- Stevia – Growing Your Own Sweetener!
- How I Use EcoBricks In The Garden
- Compost Old Confidential Documents
- Repurposing A Coffee Can For Deep-Soak Watering
- How Leaves Benefit Your Garden
- My Simple, Zero-Waste Herb Drying Setup
- How To Grow Fresh Salad Greens In All Seasons
- The Lazy Gardener’s Plant List – Plant Once, Eat For Years!
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Lewis Bamboo & Grass Barrier