Combat couchet successfully

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The Common Wheatgrass (Elymus repens), also called Creeping Wheatgrass, is a rhizome-forming grass of the grass family (Poaceae). The plant occurs almost all over the world. In the garden, the grass is a dreaded weed, as it spreads both over seeds, as well as over the underground creeps. The rhizomes can grow up to a meter under favorable conditions per year and form numerous daughter plants. They usually run horizontally in the ground at a depth of three to ten centimeters.

From an ecological point of view, seaweed is a classic pioneer plant, as it also colonizes humus-free, sandy to loamy uncultivated soils. Here it is initially relatively unrivaled and can conquer large areas in a few years. As soon as the first shrubs spread on the surface and shade the ground, the couch grass is pushed back again, since it has a high light requirement and a shading severely limits their vitality. The grassland also often occurs on arable land. Their propagation is even favored by the mechanical tillage, as the rhizomes are often torn by the tines of the cultivator and distributed over the entire field.

Fighting in the garden

If you have the wild grasses in the garden, good advice is often expensive, because the pure chopping and tearing the seaweed brings only short-term success. From the subterranean rhizomes soon drive out again new blades. Each new growth must be consistently removed to starve the plants slowly. But this method is tedious and it usually takes a whole season until the first successes.
If the plants grow on a still unplanted area, you should clear the rhizomes piece by piece with a digging fork. Here hobby gardeners with sandy soils are clearly in the advantage, because with loose ground one can pull out the flat foothills often over longer distances simply from the earth. On loamy soil, fighting becomes more difficult: be careful not to break off the rhizomes and carefully shake each short piece out of the ground.
If you have cleared a section of your garden from the seaweed, you should then plant potatoes for a year thereafter. The nightshade plants shade the soil very heavily with their lush foliage and reliably suppress the new shoots from the remaining rhizome pieces. Less troublesome is the covering of the area interspersed with couch grass. The shoots, which are up to 120 centimeters high, are simply chopped off and are then spread over the entire area with corrugated cardboard, which can be laminated with a thin layer of earth or bark mulch. The cardboard rots usually within twelve months and the couch grasses suffocate, because the shoots can no longer drive to the surface.
If the couch grass grows in the perennial flowerbed, a major renovation is usually necessary: ​​you dig up the perennials in autumn or spring, divide them and carefully remove the white reticulum rhizomes from the root ball. Thereafter, the remaining rhizomes are cleared and the bed is then planted again with the perennial shrubs.

Combat couch grass with herbicides

For the sake of completeness, reference should also be made to this method, although we generally advise against the use of chemical weed killers in the garden. It is possible to control with systemic total herbicides. In planted beds, however, the use is also tedious: you must be very careful that the ornamental plants are not wetted with the spray mixture, because the herbicide does not distinguish between good and evil. It works best when used in dry, warm weather, because the better the plants grow, the more they absorb the active ingredient. It first unfolds its effect in the plant and kills it along with the rhizomes.

Video Board: TEDxBordeaux - Frédéric Couchet - C'est juste une question humaine.

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