Full Member
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:51 am
Location: Pocatello Idaho

How to get rid of existing lawn???

Need some help. I need to get rid of existing lawn and WEEDS and till the soil and level so that I can get new sod and make my pond, put my greenhouse up and make my new garden area.

What would be the easiest way to get rid of all the old grass that is FILLED with weeds and crab grass. Our thought is to rent rototillers and till it then wait a week till again and rake out big chunks and then use the 4 wheelers with snow plows on the front to level and grade the lawn. It is about .25 of an acre so it is not huge but definitely not tiny by any means. Does anyone have any ideas of how to make this daunting task easier.

Thanks in advance

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: North Carolina

I'd kill the grass first but try to use enviromentally friendly killers so you don't kill the earth worms. Running over newly rototilled soil will compact it so why not move the soil first then till.

Cool Member
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 5:27 pm

Please correct me if I'm wrong. It's been many years since I've last researched the vinegar weedkiller.

If I am remembering correctly, white vinegar will kill the grass and should be able to break down nicely in the soil afterwards. As I remember it, use a 1:1 mix of vinegar and water and mist lightly to keep it safe for the below ground critters. If you use too much vinegar it'll soak in and either hurt the worms or drive them to look for somewhere more hospitable.

I use vinegar water on random weeds here and there, but never tried it on an entire yard so I'm not 100% sure about the breakdown rate after spraying, tilling and raking.

Green Thumb
Posts: 439
Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:17 pm
Location: Midcoast Maine, Zone 5b

How much time do you have and what level of control are you looking for?

If I'm correctly understanding what you are proposing it should work fine for the lawn area and probably for the future pond area. If your greenhouse/hoophouse is going to have a landscape fabric floor it should be okay for that too. For a garden area, however, it probably does not provide adequate weed control. You will be tilling some of the existing soil reservoir of weed seeds under but also bringing some to optimum germination depth near the surface. You will also be removing some, but not all, of the rhizomes of weeds like perennial grasses and the remaining pieces are pretty good at coming back.

I would NOT use acetic acid/citric acid herbicides. The low concentration (<10%) formulas are not very effective and the high concentration formulas are both potentially dangerous (skin burns, eye damage, etc., not to mention far from benign for at least short term surface soil ecology) and some are not appropriately labeled/tested as herbicides. Even the high concentration formulas seem to work best on young, broadleaved weeds and not so well on established perennial grasses. These herbicides burn back the tops so they initially appear to be effective but the actual control is spotty at best.

Full Member
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:51 am
Location: Pocatello Idaho

Thanks for all of the tips everyone. We used roundup on the main lawn and all of the back weeds and now will burn everything off. We have a gentleman, semi retired farmer who will be bringing his tractor in to till up the ground and level it for us in the next week or two which should make it much easier for us to get the sod in and pond built.

We have been working on the garden area which was moved to the opposite side of our yard, we used cardboard and then weed cloth and about 2 inches of pebbles/gravel and then we put our raised bed made from Cinder Blocks on top and will fill with top soil and compost and we will also be planting in tires which has worked very well in the past for us.

I will post some pictures when I get a chance and maybe you can all give me some more advice on what you would do.

Thanks again :D

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