Babied barrier keeps Bermuda at bay

05/17/2014 7:16 AM

08/06/2014 11:25 AM

How did I get by this long without knowing about a gas-powered edger?

Anyone who’s tried to have a Bermuda lawn and a garden knows how hard it is to keep the aggressive grass out of the flower and vegetable beds. I had to finally kill out an entire lawn to get some sanity back.

But master gardener Everett Price – whose yard in Haysville is on the master gardeners’ garden tour this weekend – has a big Bermuda lawn and lots of garden beds. One difference between him and me is dedication. Another is that gas-powered edger. (Of course, the edgers also come battery-powered. Never thought of that either.)

Everett has made an 8-inch buffer zone all the way around his lawn, curving with the shrub borders and lining up along the foundation of the house. To get there, he had to kill out the no-grass zone with glyphosate, hitting it a couple of times, pulling out the dead stuff, and going back occasionally with the herbicide until the area was good and cleared.

To maintain the buffer, every two or three mowings, he uses a scuffle hoe to cut off the Bermuda that will eternally continue to reach into the empty space, as well as any weeds that pop up. And he uses the gas-powered edger to keep a sharp edge on the buffer zone. He follows up by raking the buffer zone with a smallish plastic rake, to clear out the plant debris.

Another difference between this gardener and me is neatness. The strip of lawn entering Everett’s backyard, through a trellis and over a stone threshold, looks like a putting green. And perseverance: The buffer zone is fairly easy to maintain and doesn’t take too much time as long as Everett keeps after it every two to three mowings. Any less often and the job becomes onerous.

You can see a video of the Bermuda barrier and how Everett maintains it at kansas.com. You can see Everett’s and wife Michelle’s garden at 309 Park Drive in Haysville from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday during the garden tour. The tour also covers three west-side Wichita gardens, two Derby gardens, one other Haysville garden, and the Arc of Sedgwick County community garden. Tickets are $10 a person and available at garden centers and each of the gardens during the tour. See accompanying box for other addresses.

One of Everett’s favorite tools is the Corona heavy-duty weeding hoe that he glides over the surface of the soil. To me it looks like a miniature Stealth bomber or Star Wars spaceship, its sharp, notched edge slicing off weeds. Everett got it at Hillside Nursery, and also wants to try the Rogue scuffle hoe, whose head is made from an agricultural disc blade.

When I think of how I struggle with some of my garden chores, and then watch a pro handle them easily with the right implement, it makes me want to ask: What is your favorite garden tool? Let me know at acalovich@wichitaeagle.com, and you may be included in a future column about tools.

Of course, even the best tool (my fave Felco pruners, for example) can run out of steam if the blades aren’t sharpened. An opportunity to get garden tools sharpened is coming up May 24 during Hostapalooza at the Extension Center, 21st and Ridge Road. The event is from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the sharpening service is available for a fee. Expect to leave your tool(s) while you attend Hostapalooza or shop at the farmers market in the parking lot.

Everette’s and Michelle’s hostas and other leafy plants got nailed by hail last weekend. The rain was nice, but the hail left some holes behind. The cool weather this week also slowed down plant growth and kept the basil from finally being planted. It looks like next week may finally bring May.

About Annie Calovich

Annie writes about home and garden, including her Bit of Earth column on Saturdays. She has been at The Eagle since 1985, working as a copy editor, a nation/world editor and a reporter. She’s a KU graduate who started out at The Coffeyville Journal.

Contact Annie at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com

Follow Annie on Twitter: @AnnieCalovich

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