Killing grass with newspaper - What?

leaflover76(5b)October 1, 2011

Sorry to sound like a newbie, but, I have never heard of killing grass with the newspaper method. Do any of you have pics of how to do this? I just created 6 new beds this year and although I achieved each one in a day it was back breaking and painful. I use my edger to get my shape then I use the spade to dig up all the grass. I then start hoeing and removing the sod. Its not ideal or fun but I want the end result so I persist. Killing the grass sounds like I can keep the dirt underneath which is an unfortunate result of removing sod from my prospective new garden.

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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

The newspaper method is outlined in the FAQ. Basically you need 5 or 6 layers of newspaper to cover the grass or you can use cardboard. Cover it with some organic material (wood chips, grass clippings, compost, etc) and let it sit for about 6 months. Here's the link.

Turning Lawn into a bed

Many people also use the herbicide Roundup (or generic Roundup) to kill grass more quickly. Roundup will kill grass and allow you to plant after about a week. I used this method and then brought in 6 yards of 50/50 (composted cow manure and loam) from the local farm to create a new bed in about three weeks. It made a great raised bed with super soil quickly and saved my back also.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 12:00PM
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bernd ny zone5

Sod is full of topsoil and the grass will compost nicely, so why should we throw that away, or create an ugly looking pile somewhere. In the past I also turned over the 6 inch deep sod. But the last time I used newspaper. When you know exactly where to plant you only need to dig up the sod there, shake out all good soil, throw the sod onto the compost pile. Then after planting cover up the unplanted very short cut grass with newspaper and then mulch, and you are done. For edging you would need to remove a shallow strip of sod and fill it with the end of the newspaper and mulch.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 5:46PM
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When I make a bed, I trench for the edging, kill the grass with RoundUp and once completely dead (no sign of green anywhere for a couple weeks), I mulch. Works just great and no sod busting for me!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 9:26PM
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I discovered the newspaper method on this website and I find it amazing! The trick is to make sure you use multiple layers and that the edges overlap by several inches. The first time I did it, I only used a single layer and didn't overlap - so I still had to pull up a lot of grass. Otherwise, though, it's been an excellent way for me to start my gardens. I just put my plants in the ground where I want them and then arrange the newspaper (or paper used when boxing breakables to move!) to cover where I will put down mulch. Make sure you use enough mulch, too, or eventually you get little scraps of newspaper poking through! I've noticed many more worms in my garden area!

Good luck! - Rachel H.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 7:24AM
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For all the years I worked offshore (oil field), I was gone sometimes 6 months. While I was home, I piled up my leaves and such in the spots I wanted to create a bed. By the time I returned home, soil that had been hard as a rock was diggable and ready to be worked. It was the little composting worms that I gave credit to digging the bed for me. I worked in the decomposed leaves and grass clippings with further bags of purchased Black Cow and had no problems with plants growing.

In my zone 8B area, the problem was not rocks in the soil, but rather tree roots. Any problems with digging holes usually was caused by root intrusion. As a result, I chose lots of plants that could survive amongst the roots. Two of these are leriope and aspedistra.

It has puzzled me a lot why neither of these plants are spoken of as companions to hosta. Do they compete? Or are they not tolerant of the colder climate range where hosta thrive? I love heuchera and heucherela, but zone 8b is the lower extreme of their tolerance. I guess this is too off-topic for this thread, so I will look up a companion planting thread and post there.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2011 at 1:54PM
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I lay down a layer of newspaper or cardboard or paper feed sacks and cover with manure or compost and in a very short time I have a new rich bed.

I have a couple of horses, goats and chickens so manure is readily available. The layer suffocates the grass and the paper rots away adding to the compost. Very easy. No chemicals needed.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 7:10AM
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