Turning a portion of your lawn into a garden bed, either for vegetables or flowers, requires some preparation. Grass is usually more tenacious than many of the common weeds, and the problem is worse if you have both weed and lawn grasses to contend with. The following methods can help you successfully remove the grass so your new garden will flourish.
1. Use a Herbicide
A non-selective systematic grass killer will kill both lawn and weedy grass varieties within a few days. Once the grass is dead, you can till it into the soil. Don't plant right away, though. Wait another week or so to see if any grass survives and re-sprouts. If it does, a second application of the grass killer is necessary. There are even organic grass killers available if you're concerned about the chemicals in the herbicide. If you will be planting vegetables after using this method, follow label instructions carefully so you are sure if the herbicide doesn't affect your food crops.
2. Smother It Out
Smothering is an excellent way to kill off most of the grass while keeping the topsoil. Further, the nitrogen and other nutrients trapped in the grass get released into the toil once the lawn dies. The simplest way to smother out the lawn is to cover it with either large pieces of cardboard or a tarp. If you opt for cardboard, you can simply spread some compost over the top and wait for the cardboard to decompose, which adds even more nutrients into the soil. The main drawback with smothering is that it can take a month or longer to kill the grass. You can speed the process by applying a grass and weed killer before covering the lawn.
3. Strip the Turf
Stripping the turf is the least ideal method, simply because digging up the grass also removes the nutrient-rich topsoil. If you do decide to strip the turf, the easiest way to do it is to rent a turf cutter. This allows you to cut long strips of sod quickly. You will need to add topsoil and compost back the area afterwards to replenish the removed soil. In some cases, grass roots, particularly the roots of weedy grasses like crabgrass, will still be buried deep in the soil. In this case you will need to follow up turf removal with the application of a non-selective systematic grass killer.
With perseverance and the right technique, you can overcome the grass and have rich soil for your new garden. Learn more about non selective grass killer products today.