How to Kill Grass for Good

Overview

Soft expanses of turfgrass are usually desired in the landscape, but sometimes need to be removed if you're renovating your lawn or want to plant new vegetation. Unfortunately, the hardy and durable nature of grass that makes it prized as a groundcover also makes removal difficult. Homeowners have several strategies at their disposal, both manual controls and chemical controls, to permanently eradicate grass.

Step 1

Cut out the grass with a garden spade or a sod cutter. Manual removal is the best option if you want to immediately eradicate the grass to make way for new grass or vegetation. If you plant to compost the grass, dry it out in the sun first.

Step 2

Spray the grass with a non-selective, systemic herbicide like glyphosate. This is ideal for those who want to kill grass with the least amount of manual labor. Mist the herbicide onto all grassy surfaces as directed by the herbicide's label, since application rates and guidelines vary by product.

Step 3

Solarize the grass. Though this method takes up to six weeks to kill the grass, according to the University of California, solarization is low-labor and doesn't require toxic chemicals. Cover the grass with a plastic sheet and weigh down the sheet's edges with bricks or rocks. The sun's rays bake the grass through the sheet and kill it.

Step 4

Mulch the grass. This is similar to solarization but takes longer and is more attractive in appearance. Cover the grass with landscaping fabric, then layer 4 to 6 inches of mulch over the fabric. Denser mulch, like aged compost, is better than larger mulch like wood chips. The underlying grass will be smothered.

Tips and Warnings

  • If applying an herbicide, don't get the chemicals on any desirable vegetation. Non-selective herbicides will kill everything, not just grass.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Sod cutter
  • Herbicide
  • Plastic sheet
  • Bricks or rocks
  • Landscaping fabric
  • Mulch

References

  • "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
  • University of California: Bermudagrass Management
Keywords: kill grass, grass removal, erradicate grass

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.