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Removing Grass From Ground Cover


I have some large garden beds that have grass growing up through the ground cover. In fact, the grass is now higher than the ground cover and some of the gardenia shrubs. Does anyone have an idea for me to kill the grass without me having to pull out all the ground cover?


I have begun pulling out all the ground covers and the grass just to get to the grass roots, but it's such an enormous job that it will taking me forever, as I am not very well and I only manage a few good days each fortnight.

Friends have been saving newspapers for me to put down as the ground is weeded. I have sugar cane mulch to cover the newspaper once it's down. How many sheets of the newspaper is about the best thickness?

Hardiness Zone: 11

Wendy from Hervey Bay, Australia


Hi Wendy,

I'm afraid hand pulling the grass is the only chemical-free way to remove it without taking up the ground cover. When covering the weed-free zones with newspaper, thicker is better. The idea is to block out the light, so enough sheets to equal the thickness of corrugated cardboard should be sufficient, especially with the addition of mulch on top. Another option is to cover the weeded areas with strips of black or dark colored plastic-leaving it on for several months. Unlike the newspaper, which will eventually disintegrate, the plastic will last longer. Then again, it will not break down and enrich the soil the same way newspaper does.

If you have the time and patience, a 20% vinegar solution with also work to burn off the grass above ground level. This is solution is non-selective and will kill off everything it encounters, so be careful. It can also burn your skin so wear gloves if you decide to use it. You will have to use a small paintbrush to paint the vinegar on the grass blades without getting any on your ground cover. This will NOT kill the grass at the roots, however.

Are there any kids in your family or in the neighborhood looking to make a few extra bucks? Maybe you could hire them to help you.


In the future, the best way to keep grass from popping up around ground cover is to encourage dense growth so that it chokes out the grass. Use a thick layer of mulch in-between plants and a good organic fertilizer on the ground cover to encourage the vigorous growth.


About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at


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March 4, 20080 found this helpful


Thanks for the tip Rascal. However, I haven't found it in Oz. Do you know where I could order it online please?

I'd LOVE to find something that will save me loads of work & non-existent energy.LOL

Thanks, Wendy

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March 4, 2008 Flag

How do you prevent and remove grass from mature ground cover? It's taken years to get this bed established and is very difficult to dig around.

Hardiness Zone: 5a

Karyn from NW Wyoming


Removing Grass From Ground Cover

Spray on Ortho Grass Be Gone. It will kill the grass but not your ground cover. It's great. (05/01/2007)

By rascal_50

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