Asked on Jan 13, 2019

How to get rid of lawn so it won't come back?

OlivaJohnavallance82Lynn Sorrell
+23

Answered

I recently sprayed my lawn with some industrial strength roundup to kill it. I did two applications, about 10 days apart. It all turned yellow and I didn't see any sign of green afterward. (I plan to convert the front yard into a drought tolerant, native plant garden, I am in zone 10b, in southern California). After about 10 days after I did the 2nd roundup application, I hired a gardener to dig up the lawn and get rid of the grass. He used a sod cutter to do the work, I was not home while he did it so I didn't see how deep he was going, etc. After paying him, a couple days later I began looking deeper into the dirt and noticed some of the old lawn roots are still in there, as well as a lot of the green nylon mesh that was probably from the sod of the previous lawn. Should he have dug deeper down to get rid of all that? Did I get screwed? I am a bit concerned that the grass grow back, and want to know if anyone has had a similar experience that might guide me?

9 answers
  • DesertRose
    DesertRose
    on Jan 13, 2019

    You can calm your fears by putting down a barrier cloth/plastic on the lawn and cover it with decorative stones. If you use small stones you could eventually put in a few succulent plants for decoration. Without the weed barrier you will always have grass or weeds coming up from the soil. Here is an idea you might want to consider when you get ready to add your native plant garden in the yard: https://www.hometalk.com/39160211/beautiful-yard-even-in-harsh-dry-deserts:

  • Oliva
    Oliva
    on Jan 13, 2019

    Hi, Mark,

    Researching your query, grass roots in lawns can grow up to 6" deep, so it's not likely that your lawn was dug sufficiently deep to remove all the roots. You may need to till the area and reapply Round Up or similar, prior to proceeding with your project.

    Because your lawn care person was asked to get rid of the grass, he may have felt he succeeded, but he failed to address eradicating the grass roots systems.

    • Mark
      Mark
      on Jan 14, 2019

      Wow that's great info, thanks so much! I will definitely take your advice and remove the netting before tilling, and I will try the Preen out as well. Thanks again!


  • Johnavallance82
    Johnavallance82
    on Jan 13, 2019

    Hello,

    If you asked him to get rid of the dead lawn, then that's what he did! If you asked him to take up the the lawn and leave ready for for you to have a drought tolerant garden, then that would have probably been a higher quotation because he would need to do the prep work..........so the answer in in what was said at the time - Did you get a written quotation?

    • Mark
      Mark
      on Jan 14, 2019

      Thanks for your reply. I did ask him to get rid of the dead lawn, but I also told him I was planning on putting in drought tolerant landscape afterwards, and using gravel to cover the area. He charged me $700 to remove and dispose about 1200 sq feet of grass, and also included a flower bed that had 3 small tree stumps, and 5 small bushes to remove. Not sure if that is a fair price or what. Will probably need to rent a tiller and till to make sure I get all roots.

  • He did what you requested him to do. No you didn't get screwed. What you do now before you install your Xeriscaping is level the area with the proper slope for run off during rain events, and as you well know, any rain here in So Cal is an "event." Then cover with good quality landscape fabric or black plastic. Then lay out and install your plantings. Cover with landscape rocks or mulch. You will still get weeds but they will be easy to pluck out or spray with vinegar as they are on top of the landscape fabric. Mother nature rules, we just try to control it. For future reference, think twice about using round up.


    https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/10/health/monsanto-johnson-trial-verdict/index.html


    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/glyphosate-roundup-chemical-found-in-childrens-breakfast-foods/


    Everyday more suits are being filed. In my area, the better mow and blow and garden services have stopped using it.


    I killed my grass with plain old vinegar. If you want to render the ground reasonably infertile, agricultural strength is the way to go. Chances are you do not wish to do that as you still want xeriscaping.

  • Lynn Sorrell
    Lynn Sorrell
    on Jan 14, 2019

    Sod cutter does not go deep enuf to remove roots ; it needs tilled down 6-8" or more then all roots need raked from dirt and removed or they will continue to grow

  • Johnavallance82
    Johnavallance82
    on Jan 14, 2019

    Hello again,

    If you want to remove mesh, do it manually! Line whole area to suppress any roots shooting! Cut crosses into area where you want to plant again. Add top soil and plant and close back. Top off with Gravel, Stone and Rocks to give a naturalistic look..............

    • Mark
      Mark
      on Jan 14, 2019

      I was really hoping I wouldn't have to remove it manually but it looks like i will! Thanks for your insight.

  • Johnavallance82
    Johnavallance82
    on Jan 14, 2019

    Hello again, If you really don't want to remove it - then don't! just lay new membrane on top and cut through as before mentioned, where you want plants. Enjoy your garden!

    • Mark
      Mark
      on Jan 15, 2019

      I think I need to take more dirt out anyway to allow for the couple few inches of mulch I want to lay down. Didnt think of it before, probably should have been more specific with the gardener that took the lawn out. Oh well, live and learn!

  • Oliva
    Oliva
    on Jan 14, 2019

    Hi again,

    Your plan sounds very nice! Please post photos of your completed project.

    I really like your color selections, which should attract many pollinators.


    I just read your entry re: using gravel, and wanted to advise you that should you use white gravel, it will reflect much more sun against your plants, possibly burning the leaves.

    Being unfamiliar with what's available to you, this may not even be relevant, so please excuse me if I've written something of which you are already aware.

    • Mark
      Mark
      on Jan 15, 2019

      I was not aware of that! Thanks, in that case, I may go with mulch instead.

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