Transform your garden: How to kill grass

How to kill grass? Grass is difficult to kill, but it isn’t impossible to get rid of.

how to kill grass

If you’ve got a large garden, or even a small courtyard, you might want to remove grass and replace it with something else.

Whether you want to pave a section of your lawn, create a new flowerbed or just stop grass growing somewhere you don’t want it to, you can find it difficult to kill off grass.

As one of the hardiest garden staples, the simple grass plant can be a brilliant addition but it can also be very hard to get rid of.

There are lots of articles with conflicting information available so we’ve put together a list of everything you need to know and a step by step guide to help you kill grass once and for all.

What makes grass so difficult to kill?

What we commonly know as “grass” is actually a mixture of plants. This grass can form a lawn in your garden which is coveted by the majority of gardeners.

This mixture of plants does make it a hardy and tough to get rid of. If you think about it, grass has been used over time to withstand everything from being trampled by humans and animals, different weather and conditions.

Grass can withstand frost, drought and even heavy waterlogging. The seeds still stay active even if the grass blades are damaged and killed.

Grass seeds germinate as quickly as five days and will be sprouting within 30 days. It is this speed which makes it hard to get rid of as even if you tear up the grass that is currently growing you could find more sprouting up quite quickly if you don’t get rid of all the seeds properly.

A coarse grass is the most difficult to get rid of as it is used to withstanding the most stress.

Methods of killing grass

The most straightforward way to rid your garden of grass is to use herbicide. You can buy them from most garden centres and they work by killing the grass roots and preventing them from re-growing.

The downsides of chemicals are that they can leech into the soil and kill other vegetation. If you’re not careful with how it is used, the surrounding vegetable patches or flowerbeds could be affected.

Another way to kill off grass is using wet newspaper. Waterlog the area you want to kill then smother the area with a thick layer of wet newspaper. By cutting off the supply of sunlight, this will kill the grass and the area will return to soil.

The newspaper naturally decomposes and the nutrients are added into the soil.

Instead of using newspaper, you can also use plastic sheeting. Do the same as with newspaper but instead cover the area in plastic and secure it with bricks or rocks around the edges. The difference with this is you need to remove the plastic when the grass has died.

You can also use vinegar to kill grass. It is similar to using chemicals but not as harsh. You simply spray the area of grass you want to kill with white household vinegar and the grass takes around two or three days to die.

You can also mix orange oil into the vinegar which helps to kill off the grass.

Pros and cons of natural vs man-made solutions

Natural methods of killing grass are better than using herbicide as there is no risk that you will damage nearby plants. Even if you are very careful with spraying the herbicide, it could still be blown onto other areas or tracked across flowerbeds.

Also, when you use chemicals there is a higher risk of pollution.

Step by step guide: How to kill grass permanently

1. Identify the area you want to remove grass from

Make sure you know which area you want to remove grass from. Mark the area out carefully and make sure that you take into account any nearby plants or foliage you don’t want to affect.

Make sure you protect these plants either by using plastic sheeting to shield it from herbicide or by keeping it clear from any newspaper or sheeting you put down.

2. Try a natural method first

Before you use a chemical spray or herbicide, it is best to try using wet newspaper or plastic sheeting first.

You can’t lose anything by using this method but you can gain as you will reduce pollution and also kill the grass.

3. Make sure the area is covered completely

Whether you use the wet newspaper or plastic sheeting, you need to make sure all of the grass you want to kill is covered. If you don’t get all of it smothered then you’ll still have grass seeds present which can soon spread the minute the sheeting is removed.

Leave the newspaper and plastic sheeting on for two weeks at least. If you can, leave it on for even longer or don’t remove the newspaper at all as it will naturally decompose.

4. Use herbicide to clear up any leftover

Once you’ve used the smothering method, you can tidy up with some herbicide. By using the plastic sheeting method first, you won’t have to use as much chemicals or man-made substances to stop the grass growing back.

spray herbicide  clean up grass

5. Watch for re-growth

When you’re removed the grass you should watch carefully for re-growth. Considering grass germinates for up to 30 days you should keep a check on the grassed area for around a month.

So if you want to remove a section of grass from your garden, or you want to stop grass growing between cracks in paving slabs, then use one of these methods.

Grass is difficult to kill because it is naturally able to withstand being walked over, cut down and all types of climate. But it isn’t impossible to get rid of.

Follow the step by step instructions and you can rid your garden of grass once and for all.

If you’ve found this article helpful, or have any other tips, please comment below and don’t forget to share with your fellow gardeners.

About the Author

I’m Emily and after a ten year career as a journalist I have moved on to share my passion for gardening. While getting out in the garden is one of my favourite hobbies, and helps me de-stress after a long day in the office, I often found myself frustrated at not getting the results I wanted from my plants. Through blogging, I have uncovered the answer to lots of common problems and now I want to share my knowledge with other horticulture enthusiasts.

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