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Couch grass around tree

RallotRallot Posts: 18
edited November 2018 in Problem solving
Hi, I took on an allotment earlier this year and have been systematically digging it over to remove masses of couch grass. 
There’s a lot of the stuff all around the base of the apple tree, which was a struggle to keep under control in the growing season.

Can anyone give me some advice as to avoiding this problem next year, please? 

Would laying membrane affect the tree’s water supply (though it’s very old, so I imagine the roots are long)? Or might growing shade-loving ground cover plants work? 
Thanks for any help! 

Posts

  • get a few wet newspapers, slap it around the base of the tree out to about a foot from the trunk then wood chip over it about 4 inches deep (keep it away from the trunk) that should control the grass nicely
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,273
    or use glyphosate?
    Devon.
  • RallotRallot Posts: 18
    Thanks treehugger80! I’ll try that.
  • RallotRallot Posts: 18
    Thanks Hostafan1. I’m not generally opposed to using glyphosate, but I’m in the process of digging all the grass up - nearly finished now - so I’m really after a preventative solution to suppress new growth next year.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,545
    There are bound to be bits you've missed and that will re-grow.  Voice of experience.   Using a barrier such as newspaper or cardboard and then a chipped bark mulch will slow it down but there is enough energy on the couch grass roots for them either to push sideways till they find light or else pierce the cardboard/paper as it rots down in the wet.   

    I suggest proper non-rottable woven weed membrane with some sort of barrier round its edge to hold it down and contain any survivors.  Chipped bark or gravel mulch on top of that and maybe a bench to sit on while you have a cuppa.   Then you can hoe any escapees.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • RallotRallot Posts: 18
    Thanks Obelixx. I wondered if a heavy duty membrane might affect the water supply to the roots of the tree itself...? 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,545
    It's woven and porous to water.   The main problem is it's plastic and isn't biodegradeable which is great if it's to be a permanent feature but not so good as a temporary solution which you will then lift and have to dispose of later.

    You can buy weed suppressant membrane in ready cut packs or by the metre off large rolls in good DIY stores and GCs.  Make sure you get U shaped metal pegs to pin it down.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • RallotRallot Posts: 18
    Thanks for the advice!
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