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Environmentally Friendly Ways to Get Rid of Grass

Category Grassy Weeds
Sometimes there are areas that you no longer need grass and want to safely remove it. This guide is about environmentally friendly ways to get rid of grass.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
April 10, 2008

Question:

I need some advice for making a grass-free environment, it's for business purposes. We need to keep the soil but without any grass growing on it. We have been using round up for quite a long time but only killed the grass after each application, and it comes back soon after rain. So, is there any organic, non-chemical, cheap and environment friendly way I can get rid of all of the grass for a really long period ?

Hardiness Zone: 11

chphoea from Surabaya, Indonesia

Answer:

Chphoea,

Instead of killing the turf, why not remove it completely? If you are not worried about losing topsoil, consider renting a sod cutter for the afternoon. The cost of rental (if availability exists where you are) is usually quite reasonable and the effects are long lasting. Sod cutters leave a clean edge, removing the grass (roots and all) and the top 1 to 2 inches of soil.

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You'll be left with a 1-2 inch depression which can then be filled in with mulch, gravel or your medium of choice.

The sod can also be removed manually with a shovel, but this requires more "back power" and is not exactly easy. Also, if you need the topsoil to remain for your business (for example, growing food for a restaurant), or you have very little to spare in the first place, this method is probably not the best option.

Another option is to kill the grass by smothering it. This will take a lot more time (up to several months) and a bit of patience-especially to kill the roots. Mow the grass as short as possible and cover the area with dark plastic, corrugated cardboard, or a thick layer of newspaper or wood chips. In the end, this method will be just as effective as using chemicals or removing the sod completely.

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Good luck!

Ellen

Answers

February 28, 20080 found this helpful

I can think of a couple of ideas presently. One is to use salt. I pour over my driveway to kill out unwanted grass at times and also cover the soil with plastic sheeting and anchor in place, but not very attractive.

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By Sweetu (Guest Post)
February 29, 20080 found this helpful

Hi. Try pouring boiling water on the grass. It kills it without altering the soil and surroundings. Hope this helps.

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March 1, 20080 found this helpful

First cut grass as short as possible. Than cover grass area with black plastic to smother grass. This will take several weeks (4-6). Once it is dead, I would recommend covering the area with a layer of wood chips 6 inches deep. You may get a little returning grass occasionally but you can just spot treat that.

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By (Guest Post)
March 1, 20080 found this helpful

Vinegar

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By Satellite (Guest Post)
March 1, 20080 found this helpful

Best way I have found is to cover the grass with layers of newspaper. I wet the paper to keep it from blowing away. Then cover the wet newspapers with wood chips or pine straw. I took out my entire backyard, little by little, using this method. Try it, you'll like it! It does work best.

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March 1, 20080 found this helpful

Sand.

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By Rock (Guest Post)
March 3, 20080 found this helpful

Yes Yes & Yes! The Ruth Stout No-Work Garden Book, copyright 1971:
Things can't grow without sun! She proposes a deep mulch over anything you don't want, in your case, grass!

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I've shrunk my back yard grass to a small oval for the pets and outside that oval I have room for vegetables, shrubs and even a 20 ft privacy screen thicket of volunteer plants like African Sumac.

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By Rock (Guest Post)
March 3, 20080 found this helpful

I left out the most important part: grass clippings (still have them from front yard & back yard oval) piled as much as a foot deep.

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By Ashley (Guest Post)
March 6, 20080 found this helpful

I agree with the wet newspaper idea. I have used it many times. Boiling water works for very small areas like cracks in the sidewalk.

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April 12, 20080 found this helpful

Rent a couple of high school kids to do the work. Remove about 6-8 inches of topsoil and replace all of it with gravel. The only reason grass ever sprouts in gravel is that the gravel is too shallow. Any barrier product will block old weed seeds under it but they will all let weeds sprout and grow very well on top of the barrier.

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That's why I don't use any barrier, they just end up needing to get dug out again. Ask around and you can always find someone wanting fill, but since you've been using Roundup for years, don't pass it off as 'clean' fill (haz-mat free). New gravel is a bargain and best of all, it will never, ever rot!

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April 21, 20080 found this helpful

I wish I had that problem. I have an area in our backyard that I can't keep grass growing! Send your grass this way! : )

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By 0 found this helpful
September 9, 2010

What do you do if you want to kill grass under a mature tree so you can put ground cover in a big circle around the tree? Can one safely use black plastic that will deny water to the tree? Maybe use weed block? How long do you leave on whatever cover you use to kill the grass?

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Hardiness Zone: 4a

By bill c. from Minneapolis, MN

Answers

September 9, 20100 found this helpful

You can use a weed killer spray and the next day it's usually brown. The grass will grow back eventually, but if you have the area worked up with a tiller or other tools after spraying and then plant your ground cover, it shouldn't over take the area.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 13, 2018

I am living in an older home. The front yard is very large and gravel. By the mailbox at the corner are little bricks separating the two areas. Almost the entire mailbox area is overrun with grass and weeds as well as the area right on the other side of the separation bricks. I have not been able to get rid of them no matter what I try.

I've spent hours and hours digging as deep as possible to get the entire roots out. I've moved all the gravel away and dug them out. There are stray animals in the neighborhood and I'd prefer not to endanger them with chemicals so I tried more natural resolutions. Salt - I bought two big containers of regular salt and covered the area in it so much you could see all the white. It did nothing the grass and weeds still growing strong. Boiling water - I boiled gallons and gallons of water daily for three days and soaked the area repeatedly. Nothing. A few weeds wilted and turned yellow. White vinegar - I brought home 4 gallons of regular white vinegar and soaked the area with it so much that you could smell the vinegar when you walked by it. I'm pretty sure the weeds and grass just laughed at me and kept on growing. I've used the gardening fabric as well with no results. Thick mulch, too. I'm going crazy here. I want to really landscape the big yard, but it would all look ridiculous if the first eye catcher is this horrid little area. I need help please!

**In the picture is the mailbox and surrounding area. It looks like just grass, but actually there are rocks on the ground. The other pics are after I've attempted to get rid of the weeds and landscape the area. It doesn't matter what I've done though as the weeds have come back aggressively within days.

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