What is the best method for killing grass around trees?

Danielle Segev
by Danielle Segev

Hi, I would like to know how to kill the grass around the base of a tree without harming the tree itself. Any information is greatly appreciated, thank you.

what is the best method for killing grass around trees
  12 answers
  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jan 18, 2023

    Smothering the grass would probably be the safest short of pulling it up. Wet the grass and cover with sheets of newspaper (good luck finding that - perhaps brown paper would work as well). Wet the paper as well and cover with mulch. The paper will prevent light from getting to the grass so it will die.

  • Janice Janice on Jan 18, 2023

    I agee with Kathy's advice. Blocking the sun to prevent growth is the key. This could also be done by using cardboard or plastic.

  • Cut it as short as possible, or rip it out. Lay down landscape fabric and cover with mulch.

  • Dee Dee on Jan 18, 2023

    you could put pavers around the tree or pebbles the weight will kill the grass.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Jan 19, 2023

    You could use the vinegar method or get grass killer at the store.

  • Tom Stuart Tom Stuart on Jan 19, 2023

    I use a Bernzomatic torch from my workshop. That will kill the grass but not harm the wood. Put weed cloth on top of the burned grass then mulch on top of that.

    i use the torch to sterilize clippers after pruning orchids si it is always handy and easy to use. It is very helpful in cleaning up patches where you don’t grass or weeds.

    Mark off the area.

    Burn the grass

    Cut and pin down the weed cloth

    Add the decorative mulch

    This is only a 10 minute job and is easier on you back than digging out the grass. I have found cardboard and newspaper breakdown too fast and plastic doesn’t let the water through.

  • Jeremy Hoffpauir Jeremy Hoffpauir on Jan 19, 2023

    Cardboard to smother the grass and periodic maintenance is your best bet.

    Hope this Helps! Jeremy

  • Betsy Betsy on Jan 19, 2023

    Hi Danielle: What usually works for me is I say to the grass "I love that look! I hope it stays like that!" and then it dies :( Or, you can try the vinegar thing.

    Good luck

    • See 1 previous
    • Betsy Betsy on Jan 31, 2023

      Sure. Here's the recipe:

      • DIY weed killer from a DIY site: “White vinegar is a great DIY weedkiller on its own, and mixing it with dish soap makes it even more successful at penetrating leaves and stems,” says Rupa Mehta, an outdoor home expert at Angi. Add two tablespoons of liquid dish soap to a gallon jug of white vinegar, shake, then spray it onto the leaves and stems of the weeds. “Be careful not to spray your wanted plants,” she says. “Your weeds should wither in about 48 hours.”
      • Pro tip: Avoid homemade recipes with salts. “At high doses, salt or a cocktail mixture of salts plus soap can be even more toxic to our environment than glyphosate.

  • Make sure, if you try vinegar, you find out more about your tree and if it can handle it. I personally would dig up the grass and put landscape cloth around it so the tree can still get water while at the same time preventing grass growth.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Feb 02, 2023

    Put down a healthy level of pine tree needles, the acid in them will kill the grass.

  • The grass beneath the tree should be damp before being covered with eight to ten sheets of newspaper. Wet them in between each layer of newspaper to make them heavier and prevent wind from blowing them away. Mulch over the newspaper. Since the newspaper blocks out light, the grass withers.

  • Mogie Mogie on Feb 09, 2023

    I took old scraps of carpet and put it down on bare dirt. I then put about 4-6 inches of pea gravel down. It is still keeping the weeds away and it has been almost 10 years now. I do have a stray weed every now and then.