How to Remove Weeds From the Yard Without Killing the Grass


A smooth, lush lawn is often a desired aspect in a home landscape. Occasionally, your yard can be invaded by weeds, such as crabgrass or ground ivy. Not only do these weeds detract from your lawn's appearance, but the weeds may also compete with your grass for precious space and soil nutrients. Take immediate steps to control and remove weeds in your yard in a grass-friendly manner to preserve and protect your lawn's health.

Step 1

Remove the weeds manually. This option is best for solitary patches of weeds amongst your grass. Water the weed first to moisten and loosen the soil.

Step 2

Grasp the weed at its base and pull away from the soil at an angle to uproot it. If the weed is a sprawling species such as ground ivy, you may wish to use a hand-held garden fork or spade to assist in removing the weed.

Step 3

Treat your lawn with a post-emergence lawn herbicide made with chemicals like Fenoxaprop and Dithiopyr, available from your favorite garden store or nursery. This is ideal for widespread weed removal. Lawn herbicides are designed to target a specific weed species without harming your grass. Review the label to ensure the type of weed you need to remove is listed, as formulas vary by product and brand. Mist onto all areas of your yard, and do not mow or water the area for 24 hours after application.

Step 4

Follow the herbicide application with a granular application of pre-emergence herbicides, such as Benefin or Oxadiazon. These chemicals stop any weed seeds in your grass from germinating, but don't kill plants that are already growing. Scatter the herbicide granules on your grass and water the area to dissolve the granules into the underlying soil.

Step 5

Use vinegar or boiling water as an alternative to potentially-toxic chemicals. Vinegar's natural acidity kills plants, while boiling water collapses plant cells. This method is best for spot treatments directly on weeds, as it is non-selective and will also kill your grass if applied widely.

Tips and Warnings

  • Apply all herbicides according to the product manufacturer's guidelines, as potency and chemical concentrations vary widely by brand. Failing to follow the manufacturer's guidelines can poison the grass or damage the long-term health of your soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden spade or fork
  • Post-emergence lawn herbicide
  • Pre-emergence granular herbicide
  • Vinegar


  • University of Illinois: General Weed Management for Lawns
  • "The Lawn Bible;" David Mellor; 2003
  • Natural Weed Herbicide

Who Can Help

  • Government of Alberta: Lawn Care Tips
Keywords: kill weeds, remove weeds, save 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.