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Grass roots invading my orange tree

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tecko starts with ...
How do I get rid of grass roots invading my Washington navel orange tree? At present, I just let them grow, and pulled them off occasionally. Is there a better way of tackling this problem?
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tecko1
perth
22nd May 2009 12:18am
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Brendan says...
Hi Tecko, I presume you mean grass that's growing on the ground beneath the tree? If so, put some Gypsum on the ground around the tree, cover this with some newspaper then add more Gypsum then cover all this with mulch, 200 to 300mm thick. Keep the paper and mulch ~ 150 to 200mm away from the tree trunk. Add a fertilizer high in 'P' & 'K', then water in.
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Brendan
Mackay, Q.
22nd May 2009 7:06am
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tecko says...
Hi, Brendan. Thanks very much for your suggestion. Will try it out.
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tecko1
perth
22nd May 2009 9:49am
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Julie says...
Brendan, I have not heard of this. Do you know what the gypsum does, ie, how does it work to kill the grass?

Would it work on couch? Buffalo grass is easy to kill.
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Roleystone WA
22nd May 2009 3:32pm
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Brendan says...
Hi Julie, No, the Gypsum won't kill the grass, the newspaper does. The Gypsum helps open up the soil around the tree, and helps prevent root-rot. And yes, it does work on couch.
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Brendan
Mackay, Q.
23rd May 2009 7:32am
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Steve says...
Glysophate works even better
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Steve
Coffs Harbour
24th May 2009 4:55pm
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Hobo Jones says...
Easy just BEND DOWN AND REMOVE THEM NOT HARD then if your a greenie compost if not throw it over to your neighbours and let them put the weeds in the bin if your LAZY
HOBO JONES
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Hobo Jones
Blue City
24th May 2009 5:13pm
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Julie says...
HOBO, couch has very deep roots, which are extremely hard to get rid of. You have to dig deep to get them, which is not a good thing to do around shallow rooted citrus.

I know newspaper works, if you are patient - it can take a while. I hadn't heard about the gypsum though.
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Roleystone WA
24th May 2009 8:09pm
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amanda says...
Don't wan't to be a Forum-crasher...but after 20+ yrs of renting and therefore putting up with couch 'lawns'...I loathe the stuff (and kikuyu)....I have tried all the tricks and found they don't work in the long-run (eg: glyphosate, hand digging, newspaper..etc)

Like Julie says - hand digging is hard - u have to practically sift the soil to get every tiny root.
I don't have it here - but it has come in thru' my manure source. I don't muck around with it now and use a long term nasty chemical - but I only apply it to the grass leaves and protect the soil (as it is residual)

Personally, I think couch grasses are worse than 'buggars'! - can't say what i really think in a family-friendly forum :)))

Tecko - it depends on what grass you are talking about?
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amanda19
gerladton. WA
25th May 2009 1:34am
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Myles says...
I have just purchase a Washington Orange But wanted to find out about drainage for the orange when planted in the ground. Also how good is the root systems.
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Myles
Las Vegas
25th October 2009 6:44pm
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Itdepends says...
I use glypho personally. Putting a garden bed around it with weed barrier to keep the grass out would be better.
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26th October 2009 9:06pm
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mike says...
Putting a garden bed around any citrus tree is not a good idea as Julie says they have a lot of surface roots which have to compete with the plants in the garden bed for nutrition and any cultivation in the bed is not good for citrus.Glyphosate will kill couch grass,most of the product you buy is very diluted but look for full strength glyphosate 450g/l. Lesser undiluted strenghth will be o.k. Then follow the directions on the label or in the booklet,Though with couch i would double the concentrated amount before adding water.Providing your applying glyphosate to plant foliage there is negligible residual glyphosate left in the soil. cheers Mike
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mike8
albany WA.
27th October 2009 11:15am
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Dekka says...
All you need to do is create a spade edge circle around your tree, beyond the drip line. This creates a kind of air-filled moat around the tree deeper than the grass roots and runners. Everything within the circle is mulched.
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Dekka
Newcastle
27th October 2009 12:43pm
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Brad says...
Mike - I don't think Itdepends meant to plant a bed on top of the citrus roots. I suspect he meant edge around the tree dripline so the grass can't get in. And then as Dekka says, mulch to keep out weeds etc that would compete with the citrus roots
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Brad2
Perth
27th October 2009 4:36pm
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Itdepends says...
I extended my vege garden to include my citrus- they were previously surrounded by lawn. Since I've done that they've taken right off.

The few plants I've got growing under the citrus (shallots and strawberries) require minimal cultivation- and compete far less than the grass did. Plus being in the vege garden the citrus gets a lot more water and fertilizer.

Your citrus would do a lot better with a garden bed around it planted with shallow rooted plants like a few annuals than it currently does (competing with grass).

You can also get those recycled tyre rubber mats that are designed to go around trees if you don't like bare dirt or planting anything under them. Personally they aren't big enough though.

Daniel
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28th October 2009 2:27pm
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Steve says...
You'll never completely stop running grasses invading gardens or mulched areas under trees etc. Physically removing them might be okay for small areas, otherwise you need herbicides, ie glysophate. I have 50 fruit trees, all heavily mulched & only need to spray the invaders a couple of times a year & only when they start to take over. I don't like to use any harmful chemicals on my plants, but regard glysophate the less harmful over many other herbicides.
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Steve
Coffs Harbour
29th October 2009 9:55am
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Speedy says...
'Running' grasses spread in two ways.
Via Stolons -Stems that run across the top of the ground eg. Buffalo
and via Rhizomes- stems that run under the ground eg. running bamboos.

The thing with Couch and Kikuyu grass is that they do both.
They'll grow under or step over a small barrier

IME the tighter the ground (compacted, low OM, exposed to heat and dry) the bigger and tougher the rhizomes grow and the more the grass relies on rhizomes as a storage organ and survival mechenism.
Following Brendon's suggestion re. adding Gypsum, this would improve soil tilth, water infiltration, proper nutrient cycling in the soil and thus easier to dig the grass.
Thick mulch tends to weaken the grass for some time as it moves its reserves of energy to closer to the soil surface.
This also enables it to be pulled more easily.
As Steve just said you'll never completely stop them but soil improvement and heavy mulching certainly makes the job much easier.
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Nth Vic
30th October 2009 1:00pm
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Diana says...
I have found that too, speedy, that's good information.
I have a bad couch problem, because I am trying to replace most of a large couch lawn on clay with garden beds containing fruit trees. I have been physically digging it up, putting down gypsum and compost, planting trees on mounds, and putting large sheets of weed mat in between the mounds. I keep it from blowing away with a layer of ti tree mulch. Before I put the weed mat down, even thick cane mulch was getting too much regrowth of grass for me to cope with every time it rained (I have a full time job not compatible with full time weeding!).

It doesn't completely eliminate grass, but reduces the work by about 90%. The weed mat doesn't go right up to the edge of the trees, so it is easier to fertilise under them. I tried glyphosate before I put the matting down, but it really didn't work, I don't know why.

Diana. http://www.daleysfruit.com.au/my/1961/
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Brisbane (west)
1st November 2009 9:33am
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Itdepends says...
RE couch grasses- I've just run an electrical trench (minimum depth 600mm) and there's couch roots down to most of the depth of the hole. The stolons however generally only go 30cm down or so.

If you do put a root barrier in- make sure it's a decent one. The decorative garden edgings you get at nurseries or hardware stores are useless- for grass you're better off with a tree root barrier, conveyor belting or similar.

Daniel
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1st November 2009 10:52am
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anna says...
Re the couch problem, I wondered if you put physical barrier down between the bed and the grass edge, so that the barrier bends right backwards toward the way the grass runners are come from, that the runners may start to grow up it and then fall back on themselves?! They then may not needed attending to more than say once a year and you'd have an edge to spary along.
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anna4
Canberra
21st April 2010 4:57pm
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Nichole71 says...
Does all this information apply to apples trees also? We have 2 trees and about to rip up our crappy lawn and lay sir Walter. So while we have to excavator here to take up the grass in the yard I'll get him to do around the bottom of the trees also. Do I still dig the trench around the drip line and put a barrier in and is sugar cane mulch ok to use? Thanks in advance
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Nichole71
St georges Basin
24th November 2014 9:54pm
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