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How to Kill your Old Lawn and Start Anew

Once your lawn is past the state of revival, you may contemplate drastic measures just to escape it, like up-and-moving to an entirely new home or relocating to a high-rise building to escape lawn maintenance for the rest of your days. To avoid such dire straits, try these easy steps to kill your old lawn in a simplistic way that will also enable you to start anew with fresh green grass without the constant infestation of pesky weeds. Before you begin this process, you must consider any local laws or the homeowners association will not impact your efforts to kill your lawn and if you rent, check with your landlord before going for the kill. 

Step 1: Terminating your Old Lawn

To begin the process of killing your lawn, you should water and fertilize it first. That may sound counterproductive and nonsensical, but it can ease the entire process and allow you to understand why the state of your lawn may have initially gone awry. 


Killing your Lawn using Herbicides 

Continuously watering your lawn is a vital part of this process because it can nourish the weeds already embedded in your yard and cause them to grow, which will make them visible when it is time to eliminate them. Greening your grass will make your lawn more active, which is of great importance as when you apply the herbicides, and if your grass is dormant, your grass will not die properly, which will be a waste of resources and will be money out of your pocket. Watering your lawn in and greening it is necessary as the herbicides you use when killing the lawn are much more effective when your lawn is green. The herbicides will also be more effective in killing the weeds that terrorize your lawn if they are green, which further emphasizes the importance of this entire procedure. To motivate your plants to grow from the leaf surface to the root so you can expose those hidden weeds, you need a consistent dose of water and fertilizer. Moreover, watering your lawn will also soften the soil when you begin to rototill your lawn, expediting the process.


Removing your lawn using herbicides should be relatively fast and straightforward. Selecting the right herbicide for your lawn typically involves the choice between mixed or premixed concentrates. The premixed is much easier to use, but the mixed concentrates you can do yourself are better for large lawns as it tends to be a more economically sound option. 


After you grow your lawn out through fertilization and watering, you can apply your herbicide onto your lawn. Misusing the herbicide can cause lasting environmental damage, which should be considered. You should wear appropriate clothes when using it (e.g. long sleeves, gloves, and eye protection) to avoid any chemical contact on the skin. You should also rethink this herbicide option if you have active kids or pets. The chemicals can produce dangerous effects if ingested or have regular contact with animal fur or skin. 


You should apply the herbicide carefully and follow all safety precautions that should be on the label of your chosen herbicide. Spraying your lawn with herbicides to kill it will take more than one dose of spraying. To ease this process, use a temporary blue colourant with the herbicides to see where you already sprayed. Once the weeds you watered and fertilized grow into fruition, spray them with the herbicide and eliminate them from your dead lawn. The grass should take about seven-ten days to completely die after the initial application of the herbicide. 


Other Methods to Kill your Lawn: Digging your Lawn & Solarization 

Although using herbicides is a quick and efficient way to kill your lawn, there are various other methods that can be utilized as well. If the weather or the safety of pets or children does not permit you to use any herbicides at your disposal, you can dig up the lawn or even solarize it, and both options can be just as effective. 


To dig up your lawn, you need to acquire power-equipment and plan what to do with the sod you are digging up. Renting equipment like a sod cutter and a rototiller would be the more economically sensible option when digging up your lawn. A sod cutter is an incredibly useful tool that will cut your lawn into strips as it can cut below the turf. Having a sod cutter on hand will only quicken the progress of this method, and you can easily roll up the lawn that should be cut in stripes and rid yourself of your dead lawn at your nearest composting facility or brush dump. If you don’t want to spend too much money on renting a sod cutter, a flat and sharp shovel to manually remove grass would suffice as well but would prove more lengthy in time than the sod cutter--not a method recommended for large lawns. After doing away with your grass using either digging option, you should replace all the organic materials that were also tossed with your old sod. If you fail to replace these organic materials, your lawn will struggle to grow and potentially look even worse than your old lawn, making this entire process completely counterproductive. To prevent this from happening, buy a bulk of quality topsoil from your local gardening store and get ready to plant your grass seeds. 


Another method of killing your lawn is solarizing it, particularly if you want to avoid the harsh chemicals that come with killing your lawn using herbicides or the manual labour of digging your yard. This method utilizes the sun’s rays to basically sweat out your plants, the weeds seeds underneath the lawn and the top layer of the lawn itself. One common approach to this technique is to lay plastic over your lawn with a thin layer of clear plastic (that can be found at any local supermarket). Doing this is recommended during the hot days of August, just before fall, where you can optimally begin to harvest new plants in your yard and have a great-looking lawn by spring. To start this process, you must mow your lawn and heavily water it to get the soil underneath the top layer of the lawn saturated. Use your plastic and extend it a foot beyond the edge of all the areas you want to solarize. If more than one sheet of plastic is needed, begin to overlap. You can use anything hefty enough to anchor your plastic covering to keep it from blowing off your lawn and into someone else’s and turn off any in-ground sprinklers that you may have. As strange as it may look to your entire neighbourhood, you must keep the plastic in your yard for at least six weeks, long enough for your whole lawn to die. After those six weeks, you can remove the plastic off your lawn and begin to remove the dead grass.



Choosing your preferred technique of killing your lawn is based on personal preference and what amount of resources you are willing to put in. Once your eyesore of a lawn is permanently dead, you can begin readying yourself to start to plant the seeds for your new lawn to flourish and grow, which will make you the envy of your neighbourhood. 

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