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How to rid of grass....but not plants....

Posted by mrmichaeljmoore (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 3, 07 at 21:33

My wife are not gardeners, so excuse our ignorance in this area....but we need a little bit of help.

We recently had some fill dirt/top soil added to the side of our house, along with two window wells to help with water drainange and runoff.
At first we decided to just throw some grass seed on the dirt and let it grow in as it was before.
But instead we have now decided to add some plants and shrubbery to this area. The only problem is some of the grass has started to germinate. We planted some stuff today and I tried to rake out any seeds still on top.

Is there any product or trick to removing/killing the grass, but not harming the plants we just put in?
Should I put mulch on the area now or wait to kill the grass? Will mulching "suffocate" the grass and prevent further germination?

Thanks for the help.
I attached a picture for a little reference.

Thanks again.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How to rid of grass....but not plants....

"Is there any product or trick to removing/killing the grass, but not harming the plants we just put in?"

No, not that I'm aware of. And mulch alone will not kill the grass.

I use wet newspaper to smother grass and weeds...not the slippery pages, just the black & white. Soak sections of 5-6 pages of newspaper in a flat container. A kitty litter box is perfect for this. Cover the newspaper with 2-3" of your favorite mulch, mine is shredded hardwood. Wet newspaper doesn't fly away in the breeze and over time it decomposes.

BTW, if you don't subscribe to the newspaper, you can generally get it from community recycle areas or maybe a friend.

Good luck!

RE: How to rid of grass....but not plants....

aka peggy -

Thanks for the help....
So if I understand correctly, I place the soaked newspaper on the dirt, then cover it with mulch.
I don't need to go back and remove the newspaper after anytime; it will naturally degrade, hopefully leaving no weeds or grass....
Do i got it right?

thanks again.

I was also thinking I would use Preen under the newspaper. Good idea?

RE: How to rid of grass....but not plants.... got it right. Layer the newspaper so the edges overlap slightly and then cover it with mulch. It will degrade over time and the weeds will not grow through it. It will do no good to use Preen UNDER the newspaper. If anything, use it OVER the mulch...if you have serious weed problems.

RE: How to rid of grass....but not plants....

Peggy --

Thanks for the help so far. I am planning on putting down the newspaper this weekend. Then mulch over it.

Anybody else have any suggestions or tips that may help with this problem?


RE: How to rid of grass....but not plants....

I would do what Peggy suggested because I would want any and all weed seeds to smother out also. There is however, a product that only kills the grass and does not harm the plants. It's called Grass B Gon by Ortho.

RE: How to rid of grass....but not plants....

Hello All, Im new and this is my first post.

I had read about killing grass with newspaper on another website about 4 years ago when we first moved into our home. Since the house was a spec home, the trees were already planted and grass had grown up to the trees long before we moved in.

Here is what I did:
X I wet the area I planned on working. TX soil is ROCK HARD so it makes things much easier.
X The soil has to remain at the same level around the tree itself, so I hand pulled 5-6 inches of grass away from the tree trunk.
X I planned to make a round garden around the trees with a brick border stacked 2 bricks high. Using a shovel to measure, I measured 4 equal distances away from the tree, and placed a brick for a marker. I finished placement of the bricks in a circle.
X Using a hand spade and sitting on my small portable garden rocker, I dug a 3" wide trench to form the base for the bottom brick that would be below grass level. I made sure I kept my circle round.
X After the trench was dug, I used black and white newspaper only, about 4-6 sheets thick, to cover the grass I wanted to kill. I used rocks to hold the newspaper down at the trunk of the tree. I fully covered the grass all the way to the trench, overlapping the newspaper as I went along. I made sure to block the bottom of the trench with newspaper and replaced the brick to keep grass runners from creeping in over time.
X I held any flapping newspaper pieces down with extra bricks or rocks, and I wet the area thoroughly. The following day, the paper rather looked like paper Mache. I waited about 2 weeks before adding mulch and putting on the top row of brick. I also kept wetting the paper (not soaking it). It seemed to me as if it was cooking the grass as it dried inside the newspaper cocoon. (Just my theory) As the grass dries up, it does shrinks quite a bit, but I guess it really wouldnt matter. You may have to add more mulch later..
X To add the 2nd row of bricks, I spaced them 1/2 brick over the 2 bricks below and moved them slightly back from the front edge of the bottom bricks.

X For planting, I just have to get out the scissors or a knife to cut through the paper to fit the plant through.
X Once the mulch has settled in the bricks have stayed very firmly in place. I normally add some mulch every year, but did not this year.

This is now the 4th year, but sadly the 1st year I've had some, not a lot of grass creeping in. So I give the newspaper method VERY HIGH MARKS!!! Terri

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