Natural Remedies to Kill Grass

Lawn grass adds greenery to your property and gives kids and pets a place to play. Many types of grasses exist, however, some of which are considered weeds. Sometimes the grass from your lawn creeps into flower beds and sidewalk cracks. Perhaps you would like to transform part of your lawn into a vegetable garden, and perhaps you'd rather not use a chemical herbicide to get rid of it. To kill any type of unwanted grass, natural remedies exist that are safe, easy and inexpensive.

Cardboard and Newspaper

These common materials are often found piled up in garages and storage sheds. Make good use of them in your yard by flattening cardboard boxes and spreading them over a grassy area that you want to kill. Use newspapers in the same way, spreading several layers of them over the grass you want to kill. If you put topsoil, compost, peat moss, lawn clippings and other garden waste--such as fallen leaves--on top of the cardboard or newspaper, you can plant flowers or vegetables in the area right away. The grass underneath the cardboard or newspaper will soon smother and die.


This method of killing grass and any other unwanted plants comes from permaculture and is effective in not only killing the grass but also any weed seeds in the area. It will also kill nematodes and other soil-dwelling insects. After you mow your grass as short as possible, lay a sheet of clear plastic over the area and then secure it with bricks, rocks or boards. Solarization works best if you use this method during the warmest six weeks of the summer. You won't be able to use the area while it is covered, but you'll be able to plant bulbs or a winter vegetable crop in the fall after you remove the plastic.

Vinegar as an Herbicide

White vinegar with 10 percent acidity makes an effective grass killer. It works even better if you add 1 oz. of orange essential oil to each gallon of vinegar. Spray on a hot, sunny day and then spray again in two days. Keep spraying until your grass begins to die.

Burn the Grass

Propane weed burners are available that allow you to blast grass and other unwanted plants with fire. This method can be dangerous, both to you and to your neighborhood if materials you don't want to burn catch fire and spread, so use caution if you choose this method. It works well for grass that has popped up in sidewalk cracks, in areas where there is nothing that can catch fire. For other areas, consider using the weed burner only on nonwindy days, shortly after a rain.

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About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.