Do you want to replace your traditional lawn with drought tolerant plants? This not only conserves water but also saves you money on the weekly visit from your ‘mow and blow’ gardener.
If you have a lawn that is all a ‘cool season’ grass – like Marathon or fescue, then simply removing it with a sod cutter and hauling the strips of sod to the dump is all you need to do.
But if your lawn includes ‘warm season’ grasses like Bermuda, Kikuyu, or St. Augustine, eliminating them requires a more thorough approach. Warm season grasses, particularly Bermuda, have robust root systems, capable of regrowing from small root fragments or stolons left in the soil. To effectively eradicate warm season grasses, a herbicide like Roundup is essential. It must be applied when the grass is actively growing, as the chemical translocates from the leaves to the roots, impeding the plant’s food uptake and causing gradual death. Merely ceasing to water the lawn induces dormancy, but the grass remains alive, making herbicides ineffective. Surprisingly, for a successful Bermuda lawn eradication, it is crucial to water it well to promote active growth.
Follow these steps for effective warm season grass removal:
1. Fertilize the lawn a few weeks before spraying and maintain a regular watering schedule to encourage robust growth, making it easier to kill.
2. Allow the grass to grow without mowing for a week or two, providing more leaf surface for chemical absorption.
3. Mix Round-Up according to the label instructions.
4. After spraying, resume watering the lawn the next day.
If you had well established bermuda grass, there will be thick, white rhizomes 4 – 8″ deep that may not have been killed by the first application. Dig down and see if you can spot any growing rhizomes. If the roots and rhizomes are all brown and shriveled, the bermuda may be dead. If any remain viable, wait for them to re-sprout and develop enough leaf surface before applying Round-Up again. It often requires multiple applications to completely eliminate Bermuda.
Even when you think you’ve killed all the bermuda, you’ll probably have a few lone stragglers re-grow in various places around the yard. Be prepared to spray those stragglers when they reappear.