Sunday, March 28, 2010

No need for the jury to retire: Going solar - the outcome

It probably seems like a very early finish to what was expected to be a long running battle between the teams plastic (clear and black) to prove once and for all which one could dominate the reigning champion of weeds - Kikuyu grass.  I too was expecting a close fight between these two behemoths, but sadly, as is all too often the case, I've had to step in to end the contest prematurely, declaring black plastic the winner by a long margin.

The clear plastic was clearly not generating the high temperatures I'd been expecting, only getting warm enough to act as a nice little green house for the grass.  In fact, as you can see in the photograph below, the only damage done to the Kikuyu was caused by the bricks I had used to keep the plastic down.

Clear plastic after two weeks.  Dead area caused by the brick not the plastic.

In the other camp, black plastic, with its amazing powers of light suppression, was making clear inroads into the Kikuyu.  As can be seen in the photograph below, after the same two week period the damage to the grass is obvious.

Black plastic after two weeks.

With such dramatic differences between the two and needing the area for a new garden bed it seemed a sensible decision to end the competition and use the winner.

Clear plastic has its supporters so it obviously must work, but not in my situation. It's probably a combination of climate (temperatures don't often get above 30 degrees Celsius), the location of the bed (it's not 100 percent full sun) and the hardiness of the grass (it's hard to get the plastic tight to the earth).

It's not all bad news though - I've now got about five metres of cloche material :)

And just to prove it's not just me on an anti-Kikuyu crusade.  Below is a poster for a local landcare event scheduled for this Easter - note the competition categories: "Longest Kikuyu runner".

1 comment:

  1. I have duly noted the winner - particularly as I'm going to be using it over the cooler months. I did wonder a bit about the 'hot house' effect of clear - it must need very hot tempeartures to be effective!
    Love the Landcare Competition poster :D It's a shame I'm so far away, I could almost enter the bouquet competition!