Asked on Jan 18, 2023

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.

  18 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

  • 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.

  • Sheila Eagle Sheila Eagle on Apr 07, 2023

    Wood ash will make the ground inhospitable to grass

  • Deb K Deb K on Apr 17, 2023

    Hello, I would cover it with heavy landscape fabric then once it dies back, you can dig out the grass, or add a frame and put rock or something down over the fabric

  • Mogie Mogie on Jul 03, 2023

    But birds will love dusting in that.

  • The best way is to dig it up. Any chemicals can be absorbed by the tree.

  • Ererywdi Ererywdi on Oct 27, 2023

    I'd use mulch. A good layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree can help suppress grass and weeds, and it's beneficial for the tree too! Just make sure to leave some room around the actual trunk to avoid rot.

    That said, for the best advice tailored to your specific tree and situation, you might want to consult with a professional. I came across this arborist Houston site, and they might be able to guide you on the best approach for your tree.

  • Helena Helena on Nov 05, 2023

    The best method for killing grass around trees is to use a physical barrier. Cut the grass as short as possible and cover it with multiple layers of newspaper or cardboard, then add a thick layer of mulch. This blocks sunlight, suppressing grass growth without harming the tree. Avoid chemical herbicides as they can damage the tree roots. For a non-toxic spray option, diluted vinegar can be effective but apply carefully, as it can lower soil pH and affect the tree if used excessively. Regular maintenance will be needed to keep the area grass-free. Also, use these simple tips from the article to grow trees faster

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 05, 2023

    Grass doesn't normally do ell under trees, but if you have it dig it out or cut out the turf.