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SoloFlyer

Weeds (and other grasses) in Malay grass

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Morning,

I'm new to this gardening thing. Our 1yo malay lawn has some competition. The main one is a long grass that grows much taller and much quicker than the malay. (possibly called elephant grass?? - I'll try to get a pic later today). Most sprouts come direct up off the ground, but a few snake back in amongst the grass and can sometimes be pulled out up to a couple of feet. Most of these sprouts just snap when you pull them, even after some rain. Occasionally you can pull roots out but its hit and miss.

I spent an hour last weekend having a good go, but by this week I think they're gonna win out over what my hands have the time and willingess to get at.

I've been told to just let the whipper snipper take care of them, but as said, they grow back quicker than the malay. Is there a better way to keep them in check?

There's also a finer, hair-like, grass that sprouts in patches. This doesn't bother me - or should it??

Thanks kindly for any advice.

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SoloFlyer; I loved my ya Malaysia yard and miss it. If healthy, its a beautiful deep green color and texture, cool and comfortable to lay on, to play on with pets and kids, and there won't be any ants, from my experience they just don't nest in this grass. Keep it healthy as possible and it will dominate and crowd out most weeds. It can take some shade better than other grasses, and can take full sun if soil and water management is good.

I don't know the name of the aggressive grasses that you describe, but I know what you mean. If you have a huge lawn, it's a job to go through it pulling weeds. But mine wasn't that big, so I made it an early morning ritual, right after walking fence-lines, mango and lamyai orchards and vegetable garden (dog and cat always followed me and did their own inspections), to water the grass and pull weeds (right after the irrigation when they pull out easier). If you keep up with it and don't let them go to seed, pretty soon the ya Malaysia will fill in and your weed pulling ritual can be reduced to once a week or so.

You can spot spray weeds with herbicide like RoundUP/Glyphosate, but it will create an ugly brown spot that will take some time to grow over and get green again

Hopefully you prepared the soil well before planting, and rototilled with lot of organic matter worked in. Keep a keen eye on the water needs, hot dry days it may need watering morning and evening. Rainy days maybe not at all, but that depends on how much rain you get and how your soil holds moisture. Get to know your soil and grass, dig down after watering and see how deep it penetrated; its deceiving sometimes; you think you watered enough, but if you dig you find out it barely penetrated. Try to get 3 to 4 inches deep or more with the water, the grass will root deeper and you won't have to water as often. If you didn't prepare the soil with ample organic matter, it will dry out fast and need more watering and fertilizing. If you did prepare well, you may not even have to water every day.

Don't scalp it when you mow. Mow it high, 2" grass blade length or more; it needs the leaf surface to photosynthesize food for itself and grow better roots, and the long blade length helps shade the soil beneath and reduce moisture loss. If you cut it too low it you will stress it; it takes more resources to grow back, and you may be allowing weeds to move in. Cut the grass once a week, except maybe in the dead of winter when it grows more slowly. If you cut it weekly you don't have to remove so much percentage of the blade length, and you may be able to let some cuttings remain and filter in as a mulch layer. Keep your mower sharp so it doesn't rip and tear the blades, but cuts cleanly.

If you prepare the soil well before planting, and have added a lot of soil organic matter, you won't need much fertilization. You will get plenty of Nitrogen release from the organic matter. And since this is the Organic Farming Forum, that is my primary recommendation. But strict organic practitioners forgive me for recommending a chemical alternative, for the period of time while you transition into an organic program. You can fertilize with Ammonium sulfate 21-0-0 or alternate with a more complete fertilizer like 15-15-15 (more expensive), every 6 to 8 weeks during the growing season. Ya Malaysia will burn if you use too much N. and these chemical fertilizers have a high salt index and will burn. Try it at no more than 4 kilos of 21-0-0 per 100 sq meters at each application. If you use Urea 46-0-0 be careful and use no more than 2 kilos per 100m. Finely ground manure is another alternative, but also is high salts and can introduce weed seeds.

I hope that helps. There's more: www.organiclandcare.net

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Thanks DTL for that lengthy reply. Its not a huge area but but it certainly takes time to pull said weeds. The frustrating bit is the snapping. Wouldn't mind so much if they just pulled out. I can really only spare an hour or so every coupla weekends (got work and kids).

We didn't prep the soil, its just what came with the house when building. Thought about adding topsoil at the time, but were tight on expenses. I use a whippa snipper for mowing, so will take note not to cut too short.

Maybe this shouldn't be in the orgainic section, as I'm open to chemical solutions if safe and easy to use??

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Instead of just pulling by hand and having them snap off, try using a pointed shovel or trowel. Dig just next to the plant and push it at an angle under as much of the root ball as possible, or cut a circle around the plant and then pry it up. Knock off the lose soil around the roots you just popped up, back into the hole you made. You may be left with a small hole to fill with surrounding lose soil, or keep a sack of sand or soil for purpose of backfilling these little holes. The malay grass should grow over these spots within a week or so.

If your lawn is really dominated with weed grasses and isn't as healthy as you would like, you may consider replanting with fresh sod and doing a good soil preparation when you do.

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I am the world's expert on weeding by hand.

post-130198-0-57062400-1407121031_thumb.

This is the only way to do it, I cut back two tines of a short digging fork. I see people ****ing about with kitchen knives and the like, you'll never get the roots out that way. The grasses that you describe are difficult to get rid of, leaving just a small portion of the root will result in a new plant. You need to pull gently, pushing the fork backwards and forwards whilst doing so. Irrigation beforehand is essential.

I just went through my 'Portulac lawn' getting rid of this stuff.

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Thats the stuff. So you hand paint each blade? I guess I could grab a beer or two and do that.

Could you list tools and mixes?

Cheers.

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Thats the stuff. So you hand paint each blade? I guess I could grab a beer or two and do that.

Could you list tools and mixes?

Cheers.

All I used was cheap a 1" paint brush and a small plastic dish into which I poured neat Roundup, didn't bother to dilute it at all. I did that just to save carrying the bottle around with the risk of dropping it. Good idea to wear gloves, although it doesn't seem to do any harm if you get a drop or two on your hands. Roundup is called Glyphosate in Thailand, somewhere on TV there's a photo of a bottle but you can get it in most garden shops.

I didn't paint every blade, it's enough just to paint one blade per plant/root - I just daubed it on whatever leaves there were, then when some were not looking dead after a day or two I did them again. Naturally quite a bit of ordinary grass suffered too, but this has now all grown back, generally without the coarse grass. Once all the stuff had died and I had effectively removed the dead runners etc. with the lawnmower I spread plenty of wormcast to encourage new growth during the rainy season.

A few leaves of coarse grass still appear from time to time but having learnt my lesson these are immediately subjected to a quick drop of Roundup.

The net fence you can see on the first photos was because at that time we had a couple of rabbits in that garden and I didn't want them munching poisoned grass.

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Here's a shot of the affected area taken this morning and a shot of my basic coarse grass eradication kit!

post-34165-0-04278100-1413078843_thumb.jpost-34165-0-27896700-1413078861_thumb.j

Edited by WormFarmer
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Thanks for that. On the to do list.

So I'm gonna have some brown patches for a coupla months? Or using Singha would make for a quicker recovery period??

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Oh, and please link me to this wormcast you speak of.

We have a worm farm and sell worms & wormcast - you can read all about it at our website which is on the world wide web at Pennworms dot com. You can also Google wormcast for lots of information.

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Thanks for that. On the to do list.

So I'm gonna have some brown patches for a coupla months? Or using Singha would make for a quicker recovery period??

Since it's now just about the end of the rainy season I reckon you'll have brown patches for more than a couple of months unless you water them a lot. I got mine all nice and dead just at the start of the rainy season so the new grass came through quite quickly - you'll have to wait a bit longer. maybe until the next rains - but better brown patches than that horrible grass. And don't leave it through the dry season like I did, because sods law is that that stuff expands all through the dry season - get shot of it asap.

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Just revisited this thread and thought I could add some comments about the use of RoundUp/Glyphosate.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in RoundUP, which is a brand name of the well known glyphosate systemic herbicide product manufactured by Monsanto.

This chemistry is "off-patent", so there are many generic glyphosate products available. In Thailand and elsewhere, the term Glyphosate is used as the product name for some generic issues, but Round Up is still available under that name as far as I know. With glyphosate products, the surfactants that are combined with the a.i. are very important for effectiveness. It is the surfactant that facilitates penetration of the waxy cuticle on the outer leaf surface and allows the chemical to enter the plant tissues and translocate throughout the leaf and root system. Monsanto claims to have the most sophisticated and effective a.i. and surfactant combinations, and I believe it based on my experience. RoundUp Pro Max is the latest and greatest from Monsanto. (No I don't work for them and I'm not a big fan of Monsanto and what I see reported about how they dominate and manipulate the large agricultural markets and GMO issues, but they do make good weed control products that I use with good success). (Round Up Quick Pro is another that has diquat combined with glyphosate for a faster kill.)

The percent active ingredient is important to note if you are going to be cost effective and environmentally responsible. Of course the most environmentally responsible (and this is the organic sub-forum) is to hand pull the weeds and not use chemicals at all. But if you are going to use the Thai manufactured Glyphosate, you will note that it is usually 48% a.i. This is very concentrated and not necessary to use at full strength. It takes only 2% glyphosate to kill grasses in most cases, higher rate for some broadleaf leaf and hard to kill grasses, like pampas grass. The highest label rate is for tree stump killing application, 25% a.i. (spray or paint on the freshly cut stump), but most weed control is labeled at max 7% of the product (about 3.5% a.i.), or 9 oz per gallon of the 48% concentrate.

When you dab on the full concentrate it would be extremely effective, but not necessary. You could make that product go a lot further, and not put so much herbicide in the environment if you diluted accordingly.

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I have in the past used the actual rubber gloves themselves to apply the product instead of a brush. The left hand can help keep the product splashing about. When trying to kill Fallopia (Japanese Knotweed) I would cut off the stem just below a node and fill the tube beneath with pure Glyphosat. Expensive but worked better than anything else I tried.

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