How to Remove Grass & Sod


Whether planting a new lawn, garden or adding new shrubbery to the landscape, more than likely you will need to remove existing grass or sod. Many warm-season grasses such as Bermuda or Zoysia are deep-rooted and harder to remove. It is best to use herbicides on these grasses first to kill the entire root system and assure complete removal. Removing the grass and sod will take a little patience and hard work, but in as little as two weeks, the area will be ready for planting.

Step 1

Water the grass or sod you desire to remove regularly for three weeks before the actual removal. Get the grass in a flourishing state before applying herbicide to the area. To eradicate grasses such as Bermuda and Zoysia, it must be growing and not brown and dormant, or the herbicide is not absorbed.

Step 2

Suspend mowing the area where you are removing the grass or sod two weeks prior to actually digging it out. The herbicide will work better if there is more leaf surface available for it to adhere too.

Step 3

Water the area heavily two to three days prior to applying the herbicide, allowing the grass to fully plump up. Stop watering one day prior to the herbicide application, allowing the grass to fully dry.

Step 4

Spray a non-selective herbicide over the entire area, saturating the grass or sod. Be sure to use an herbicide that does not have long-lasting affects on the soil. Use the herbicide early in the morning to avoid its evaporation and allow it to fully dry on the grass, for best results. Do not water for three to five days, allowing the herbicide to kill the grass.

Step 5

Check the grass for any live growth in three to five days and water the grass again if there is green. Allow the grass to fully dry and repeat the step of applying the herbicide again. Wait three to five days and if the grass and sod is fully brown, begin removing it.

Step 6

Dig out a small patch of sod with a shovel, being sure to dig down deep enough to remove the roots. Digging out a small section at a time will be easier and will assure you get the all the roots. Continue digging and hoeing out the dead sod/grass until you have it completely removed from the area.

Step 7

Rake the area to clean up any loose grass or roots. Water the soil thoroughly, after removing the grass to help wash the herbicide from the area. Wait two weeks before planting, while continuing to water the area, washing the herbicide from the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Non-selective herbicide
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Rake


  • South Nevada Water Authority: Grass Removal
  • Popular Mechanics Magazine: Install a New Lawn
Keywords: removing grass sod, replacing existing sod, killing lawn grass

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.