Hate herbicides but dislike grass weeds more? There are natural ways to kill unwanted grass. All it takes are some household items, mechanical labor, and tenacity, and you can kill your grass without introducing chemicals into the home landscape. So if you have a patchy lawn, grass weeds or an area of sod you want removed for a garden bed, keep reading for tips on how to get rid of grass naturally.
Ways to Kill Your Grass Naturally
There are many reasons to get rid of grass in the landscape. The trick is in how to kill grass naturally without resorting to dangerous chemical preparations. The good news is that there are several natural ways to kill grass, all using items normally found in the home. Once the deed is done, you will be left with a safe, weed, and grass free zone ready for planting.
Solarizing to Kill Your Grass
For larger areas, one of the best ways to kill unwanted grass is to cook it. Focusing the sun on areas of the sod at its highest heat level will cook the roots and effectively kill it. You can use an old window or black plastic to hone the sun and heat in on the area. The optimal time for solarization is summer when the sun is at its hottest. Cut the grass to a short length and then cover the area with plastic or glass. Black plastic works best but you can also use clear plastic. Hold the plastic down with rocks, soil staples, boards or whatever you have handy. It can take a few weeks to a month to kill the roots completely. Then remove the covering and turn over or remove the dead sod.
Using Natural Liquids to Kill Grass
It may sound ridiculous but boiling water will do the trick. If your grass area is not too large, pour boiling water over the plants. Initially, they will brown out but the roots may still be viable, so repeat the process every few days until no greening is observed. Better still is horticultural vinegar. Commercial grocery store vinegars are not strong enough, so you will need the horticultural version, which has 20 percent acetic acid vs. the home vinegar at just 5 percent. Fill a spray bottle and direct stream the vinegar onto the grass plants. You may have to repeat again in a week.
How to Kill Grass Naturally by Sheet Composting
One of the best natural ways to kill grass is with lasagna gardening or sheet composting. Mow or weed-wack the area and then cover with cardboard or several layers of newspaper (both are readily available at little or even no cost). Water to moisten it well and top with a thick layer of compost and several inches (5 to 7.6 cm.) of bark mulch. Over time, the paper layer will smother and kill the grass, while the mulch and compost will help break down the paper, adding nutrients to the soil. Soon the bed will be a rich loamy soil bed ready to plant. Keep in mind this can take several months for a finished bed, but it will be weed free and ready to accept your new plants.
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Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.
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