How to Choke Out Ground Cover With Grass Turf


Ground cover is frequently encouraged by sustainable landscapers as a good alternative to grass because it is low growing, which means that it requires little mowing. Ground cover frequently requires little water and will choke out weeds as well. But the wrong ground cover can become a nuisance. Some ground covers, like Ivy or vinca can quickly become invasive. Choking them out can prove difficult. As with any plant, the secret to choking ground cover out is to weaken it and replace it with a more vigorous plant.

Step 1

Cover ground cover with black plastic sheeting to smother the plant. Then wait several seasons for the plant to weaken and die. Not all plants may die through smothering, and some that appear dead may grow back.

Step 2

Weaken remaining plants with a systemic herbicide. Systemic herbicides often kill down to the roots, but may take several applications.

Step 3

Dig up the roots of the plants with a garden fork or shovel to remove most of them. Any roots that remain have a tendency to grow back, but the presence of turf grass can help discourage this through cutting off the resources of the ground cover, such as light and water, and choking them out. This will also break up the soil in preparation for seeding turf grass.

Step 4

Select a hearty turf grass that will crowd out ground cover. Spread it over your broken up soil with a seed spreader and cover with a rake. Water to establish your seed. Tall fescue is a good turfgrass because of its dense clumping behavior.

Step 5

Set your lawn mower to mow grass higher. This will shade your soil and prevent remaining ground cover from performing photosynthesis.

Things You'll Need

  • Black landscaping plastic
  • Systemic herbicide
  • Garden fork
  • Garden shovel
  • Turf grass seed
  • Seed spreader
  • Garden hose
  • Sprinkler
  • Lawn mower


  • Gomestic: Stopping Weeds in Lawns
  • About Tall Fescue Grass
  • Turfgrass Improvement Program

Who Can Help

  • This Old House:Getting Rid of Groundcover
  • Grass Mowing Height
Keywords: Ground cover, grass seed, vigorous turfgrass

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.