How to Kill Your Lawn (and Why You Might Want To)

The lawn occupies a fascinating niche in American culture. The most grown crop in the country , this patch of grass in front of your yard is of no practical value. We remain obsessed with a beautiful lawn, despite the fact that it is demanding on water, difficult to maintain and expensive .



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Of course, lawns are fine as long as they thrive. However, if you’ve been fighting a noble but doomed battle with the elements for a beautiful lawn, it might be time to cut your losses. The rule of thumb here is pretty simple: if your lawn is only 50 percent live grass and the rest is bare ground, exotic weeds, and dead husks of past grasses (alternatively, if your lawn is a mishmash of different grasses due to past experiments), it’s time to erase everything from the board and start over.

How to kill a lawn

There are several ways to kill a lawn, each with its pros and cons:


The fastest and worst way to destroy a lawn is to take scorched earth and just treat it with herbicides. You want a brand that uses glyphosate for the best results, though you should check with your local nursery or gardening expert if you can get expert advice. Be careful not to use products that promise long-term results in terms of weed control, as this will also ensure that your new grass will not grow. It will take about two weeks to completely kill your lawn.

Pros: Pretty simple, relatively fast.

The downside: herbicides are poisons, and randomly spraying poison all over the house might not be the best idea. Re-treatment may be required to completely kill your lawn.

Black plastic

This approach takes a little longer, but is 100% safe and not very time consuming. Mow the lawn as low as possible and then completely cover it with a thick black plastic sheet . Just cover the entire lawn with several layers of material, tie it to the ground and… wait.

Pros: Safe and easy.

Drawback : a bit slow; it can take up to two months for a lawn to die completely. But the slow and steady win the race.

Pure plastic, water and sun

An alternative to black plastic is clear plastic. Mow the lawn to buzz, soak it in water – like, soak it – and cover it with clear plastic. Tie him up and let the sun roast your lawn to death.

Pros: Completely natural.

Disadvantage: takes 1-2 months and depends on a large number of sunny days.

garden vinegar

It’s not the vinegar you keep in the kitchen, it’s usually just 5% acetic acid. This material usually has a strength of about 20% and is a fairly effective herbicide.

Pros: This is a popular choice with organic gardeners and those who don’t want to pump poisons into the ground.

Drawback: It may not actually kill your lawn’s root system, so renegade grasses and weeds may grow back. This may require repeated treatments, and the vinegar may cause salts to build up in the dirt , making it difficult to grow a new lawn.

sod cutter

Finally, you can use brute force and just rip everything out. Get yourself a lawnmower and rip up that lawn and then have someone clean up the stuff.

Above: meticulous. You will remove any plant residues that you do not need. Nothing poisonous is thrown into the ground either.

Disadvantage : A little more expensive and labor intensive, plus you’ll have to find someone to haul out the mowed lawn.

Once you’ve decimated your lawn and removed any dead plants, you can start a new grass campaign that’s perfect for your environment and hopefully uses less water.


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