stu asked in Home & GardenGarden & Landscape · 1 decade ago

How do I kill off grass without making the ground infertile?

I have recently moved into a property that has a small garden. We wish to get rid of the grass (as it's not worth the hassle of mowing a small lawn). The grass is currently knee-high.

Our plan is to put down landscaper's cloth later this year and cover with gravel/bark/pebbles/etc. We'll want to leave some areas as beds for flowers and shrubs, so won't cover these parts with cloth (to allow plants' roots to develop in the ground).

Until we plan the design of the garden it would be helpful to kill off the current grass, without damaging the soil for future plant growth.

Since I'm a gardening novice I'd appreciate some advice please... what's the best way to go about this?

18 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Lasagna Gardening-No Tilling

    From gardener Arden:

    Create a new gardening bed without tilling or pulling up grass and weeds:

    Once you have a well defined garden bed, no need to clear it of grass or weeds, just layer about 6 or 8 newspaper sheets or cardboard over the bed area, water the paper or cardboard to the soaking point (this method will eventually smother whatever is growing there).

    Over this paper or cardboard, you can build up layers of organic materials by using already made compost from your own pile or bought in bags from a nursery, chopped up leaves, grass clippings, chipped up prunings, produce trimmings, aged manure (not dog or cat), whatever you can gather that will rot. Pile it on as thick as you can and be sure it is kept well moistened as if you are watering a garden each week. This is known as lasagna gardening.

    Or you can mix everything together and then pile it on top of the paper or cardboard if you prefer.

    If you would like to have a top layer, wood chips can often be found at your city's Parks & Recreation Dept., or you can check with your local nurseries. This will make a good top dressing to keep moisture in and to keep wind from blowing away your lasagna.

    This material will break down and become a rich, loose loam. Keep adding to this each year and you will have a very nice gardening bed.


    And here is another way from gardener Merrybelle:

    Lasagna gardening:

    Lasagna gardening is simply a short cut to digging and tilling up an area for new beds. I live on a hillside and part of our now yard used to be pasture land , so not only is the land compacted, it's also clay based with wild Bermuda in a goodly portion of it.

    To lasagna, you normally spray the grass with a grass/weed killer (I'll get creamed by the environmentalists on this one).

    Then you lay down your cardboard/newspapers.

    On top of this you put compost, top soil, potting soil, shredded leaves, etc.

    You are now ready to plant your beds.

    When using newspapers, they need to be thick, that's why I prefer cardboard. It suppresses the greenery underneath while decomposing, thereby enriching the soil. For some reason, the papers/cardboard draw earthworms like crazy, which is also good for aeration of the soil.

    You obviously cannot till in your dirt mixture immediately, that's why most people let the topsoil/compost/potting soil/shredded leaves sit for awhile on top of the cardboard/newspaper layers, to give them time to decompose. This is esp. true if you are going to be digging holes for shrubs, roses, anything that required more than a minimum of root cover.

    Being the impatient person that I am, I normally plant immediately on top, but then, I'm planting shallow rooted things like lilies, etc.

    All of my beds are lasagna'd - ie, layered.

    So in a nutshell, lasagna gardening is layer gardening, a quicker way to create new beds, esp. for us older folks who can't double dig, or who have very poor soil.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Just spray the area with round-up. It doesn't stay in the soil that is why farmers use it in cropping. Mow first to end up with short dead grass - looks a bit better, you don't have to wait for tall dead grass to die down. Round-up kills the whole plant including the roots not just the top.

    No residual and a lot easier than laying down plastic/carpet etc. That's not true about the ruining the soil if you use these methods, all they do is cut the sunlight to the plants/grass and they die.

    Also consider a ground cover instead of gravel etc which will still get weeds eventually. Thickly grown ground cover will not allow weed growth. There are some that allow moderate foot traffic if the area is to be walked on.

    Source(s): Horticulturist
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  • 4 years ago

    Nothing (legal) that will make the ground infertile- try CIA, FBI, KGB or whatever they are calling themselves now, or any other government that spends money on biological weaponry; they surely have tested something that will poison the soil and render it useless. If you want to prevent weed growth, you will need a "residual herbicide". These are usually in the form of pellets or powder which you apply to the area, and lasts for about 6 months. Simazine is the brand I'm familiar with, but I'm not sure that it is legally available in some countries. Complete eradication of vegetation is not a good idea though. I know that weeds are unsightly, but having a bare patch is worse. It will turn to mud during the wet season(s) and be like a dustbowl during a dry summer. If it was my yard, I would sow grass seed. It will compete with the weeds and still retain a pleasant, aesthetic characteristic.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I agree with the other answer. Glysophate or Roundup (which is just glysophate anyway). If you leave any kind of plastic on the ground IT WILL kill the soil !!! The glysophate will kill of the grass grwoth but not affect the soil. I suggest you mow it first, then glysophate. Theres no real solution until you are ready to put the landscapers cloth over it. Even with the glysophate it will grow back.


    Maz (Ms Mazscapes Nursery. Morwell. VIc)

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  • 1 decade ago

    You could try one off the "round up " family of weed killers but as with any weed killer they will only kill the growth , you will still have knee high dead grass , my advice is to cut it with a strimmer , ( hire one ) gather the cuttings and compost them . Then cover the area with Mipex or other cloth , this will stop the growth ,until you decide what to do , as you will have to buy the cloth an some time in the future , make use of it now

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  • 1 decade ago

    Place cardboard in the areas you want for a garden edge with stone, boards etc. and then put the soil mix on top of it. Grass dies and when new plants grow, roots easily pass through the cardboard. Try to use brown cardboard boxes, do not use boxes that have printed varnished images printed on them.

    Source(s): Organtic, Farmer.
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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

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  • 1 decade ago

    spray it with white vinegar; it will kill it off; then dig it out & turn over the soil; tossing the 'weeds' into a pile & disposing of them. you might also consider using cardboard to cover it with instead of landscaping cloth. Saves lots of $, & simply cover with mulch, such as bark, etc; now, you can cover with earth is want to, & it will prevent weeds from growing back. & next year or later this year whichever, you can easily remove part of it to put a plant in. Simple, quick, inexpensive & organic.

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  • 1 decade ago

    We did this not so long back.....cover it with some kind of durable sheeting and make sure it securely held down around the edges with some bricks,breeze blocks or just some large stones.....the grass will die pretty quickly.Hope this helps and good luck!

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  • Maria
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Just cover it with a plastic sheet or something to block out the light & the grass will die but the soil will be fine :)

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