Replacing Your Lawn With Native Plants
The first step in replacing your lawn can be a challenging one. You need to KILL YOUR LAWN.
Why should you ‘Kill Your Lawn’ ? By removing some or all of your turf you will:
- Reduce water use dramatically
- Reduce or eliminate fertilizer and associated polluted runoff
- Eliminate weekly maintenance labor and expense
- Free up square footage for more attractive and beneficial native plants!
HOW TO KILL YOUR LAWN
Step 1: Identify the type of turf you have
- Cool season grass: Fescue, Marathon, Bluegrass and grass blends that stay green in the winter
- Warm season grass: Bermuda, St Augustine, Zoyzia and any rhizomatous grass that is brown in winter
Step 2: Determine a strategy for removal based upon these factors
- Grass type
- Season of removal
Step 3: Kill your lawn!
COOL SEASON GRASSES: Hard To Grow, Easy To Kill, Quick To Replace
- Smother with mulch, no plastic
- Strip and flip using a sod-cutting machine, mark and avoid sprinkler heads that may be retrofitted for the new garden.
- Rototill, only if no rhizomatous weedy grasses are present
- Herbicide- typically not necessary with cool season grasses
WARM SEASON GRASSES: Easy To Grow, Hard To Kill, Slow To Replace – DO NOT ROTOTILL
- Hand removal by weeding, digging out roots (difficult)
- Herbicide- controversial but effective, each gardener needs to make their own cost/benefit analysis of this method
GROW AND KILL
- Glyphosate-based herbicides (Roundup, Rodeo, others) low toxicity, short residual
- Non-selective herbicide, tailor application method to site conditions to avoid damage to desirable plants
- Seasonal- most effective and fastest when plants are metabolically active, warm season for these grasses
- Exhaust stored food reserves in their extensive root systems by repeated cycles: water, grow, spray, kill.
- Dormancy resembles death. Premature planting of your new garden will mean years of follow-up hand pulling. Patience and diligence are required to eliminate these types of grasses.