How to Eradicate Carpet Grass


Carpet grass (Axonopus affinis) is an ornamental turfgrass that's prized for its shade tolerance, vigorous growth and its ability to grow in soil of poor quality. It is most commonly found in the southeastern United States. You may wish to eradicate carpet grass for various reasons, such as a lawn renovation or to make room for new garden beds or a garden structure. A combination of chemical and manual removal techniques can make the job easier.

Step 1

Dig out the carpet grass manually with a sod cutter or a simple spade. Both retain some of the grass' roots. This technique is ideal if you plan to transplant the carpet grass to another area, but is very labor-intensive.

Step 2

Apply a systemic, non-selective herbicide like glyphosate. This is the least labor-intensive method of eradicating the grass. Spray the herbicide evenly across all exposed surfaces of the carpet grass. Follow the specific herbicide's labeled guidelines, since toxicity and application rates vary by brand. The carpet grass will die within 10 to 14 days after the herbicide application.

Step 3

Smother the carpet grass with soil. This is best for those who want to immediately plant over the grassy area with new plants. Spread sheets of newspaper over the carpet grass, three to four sheets thick. Each sheet should overlap each other so no grass remains exposed. Cover the sheet with 4 to 6 inches of topsoil or potting soil. Grow new vegetation right away; the carpet grass underneath will slowly suffocate and die.

Step 4

Pour boiling water on the carpet grass. This method is ideal for spot treatments, such as killing a patch of carpet grass that has invaded your flower bed. Boil water on the stove and pour it directly on the grass. Repeat twice daily until the grass dies. The heat from the water collapses the grass' cells and wilts it naturally.

Tips and Warnings

  • Exercise caution when handling herbicides. If you choose to eradicate carpet grass with a chemical spray, wear the appropriate safety gear, including gloves, eye goggles and a face mask.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade or sod cutter
  • Non-selective, systemic herbicide
  • Newspapers
  • Soil
  • Boiling water


  • "The Lawn Bible: How to Keep It Green, Groomed and Growing Every Season of the Year;" David Mellor; 2003
  • "Lawns: Your Guide to to a Beautiful Yard;" Nick Christians, et al.; 2007
  • Texas A&M: Carpet Grass
Keywords: kill carpetgrass, eradicate carpetgrass, remove carpetgrass

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.