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Replacing couch grass with turf

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  • Replacing couch grass with turf

    I've had my plot around 6 years. The main part is given over to 7 raised beds with grass paths. Until now, I've never really considered that the 'grass' between the beds is actually couch grass.

    It's OK for most of the year, but April and May especially, it shoots up and out (into some beds, demanding all my attention, to the detriment of actually growing vegetables.

    I keep it down with a combination of a hand mower, battery-powered strimmer, a petrol strimmer (when I can be arsed with the faff) and even a hedgetrimmer.

    I'm wondering whether if it's worth my while trying to replace the couch grass and sowing lawn seed that will looks nice, grow more slowly, keep out weeds and won't invade the adjacent beds like couch grass would?

    I thought it worth asking before I undertake what would undoubtedly be a big task/fool's errand.
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  • #2
    I get odd grass weeds mixed in with my front lawn,I just mow it over or pull them out if theyíve got seed heads on. Because the beds are the areas being fertilised everything will grow super powerful with all the feed,compared to areas not fed,the area youíve grown beans is also giving a nitrogen boost to any grass & weeds. My normal grass lawn grows into my beds & needs cutting back more than normal in those months. I just rip out the grass encroaching the bed with my hands if Iím in a hurry,if I want it to look beautiful I use scissors,it always grows back,I donít know if thatís helped at all but welcome to the forum!

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    • #3
      I'd say you'd have to treat the paths like another set of long plots ie get rid of all the couch first before you can replace it with whatever - in this case presumably grass seed.

      If you are unsure whether this would be worth the work, maybe you could do an experimental section of a few feet at the end of one of the paths and get a feel for how much effort is going to be required ? - probably covering it with something to exclude light for 4 or 5 months would be the least labour intensive approach.

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      • #4
        Hi and welcome.
        Could you cut around the edges of the beds with a half moon lawn edger to sever the roots and mow the couch grass for your paths?

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        • #5
          You cant beat woodchip and paving slabs over paths that have been weeded and then covered in a good quality weed membrane for low maintenance

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          • #6
            I agree with the getting rid approach our plot was almost entirely covered in couch grass (the remainder was bramble and dock.

            Sure some people probably thought we were mad but we dug out the lot then used heavy duty weed matting (not the fabric stuff) for the paths and established the beds. We work full time so simple don’t have the time to mess about maintaining areas not for growing stuff. We are gradually covering the matting with woodchip to make it prettier.

            Still have to dig out the odd bit of couch grass (mainly just encroaching from the grass paths of the adjacent allotment which a nice trench should reduce I hope, as we don’t have shared paths on the side of the allotments I’m on) but only have to look at the plot opposite who decided to keep it and mow as grass paths to know we made the right decision for us, their beds are constantly re-infested with the stuff. I think I would cry.

            My advise, dig it all out, cover paths with weed matting then enjoy the low maintenance this year while you decide what to do. Whether that be wood chip, turf or grass seed.

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            • #7
              Thanks for all your advice.

              Our allotment seems to be one of the few that has grass paths by default - all couch grass, I suppose. It looks OK so long as you stay on top of it.

              I worry that as soon as I get lawn grass established, any neighbouring couch grass is going to invade and overrun it. And I imagine separating 'good' grass from couch is nigh on impossible.

              Weed control fabric and woodchip might be the answer. We have a paddock next door, so perhaps they'll have a ready supply of 'used ones'. What do you do at the plot edges? Does it just peter out?

              Also, I'll have plenty of through-traffic as my plot's nearest the manure pile.

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