Want to remove your lawn and replace it with drought tolerant plants? Doing so will save water as well as saving you money on the weekly ‘mow and blow’.
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 has any of the ‘warm season’ grasses like Bermuda, Kikuyu or St. Augustine mixed in, killing those are going to take a lot more steps. Warm season grasses like Bermuda have extensive root systems and will re-sprout from as little as a one inch piece of root or stolen left in the ground. Warm season grasses need to be thoroughly killed with a herbicide like Roundup or they will return when the area gets watered. Herbicides like Roundup need to be applied to a vigorous, actively growing plant because the chemical is trans located from the leaf down to the roots. There it interferes with the plant’s ability to uptake food and the entire plant slowly dies. People who are thinking of removing their lawn often make the mistake of simply stopping to water it. This causes the grass to go dormant but it is not dead. Roundup is not going to work on a dormant lawn, the grass has to be green and growing vigorously to work. It may sound counter intuitive but to kill a bermuda lawn you need to water and fertilize it well so it is green and growing.
Here are the steps to take to kill it.
Fertilize the lawn a few weeks prior to when you want to spray and keep watering it on a regular schedule. The faster the bermuda is growing, the easier it is going to be to kill it.
Don’t mow it for a week or two so there is more leaf surface to absorb the chemical.
Mix the Round-Up according to the instructions on the label.
After spraying, wait a day and then resume watering the lawn.
If you had well established bermuda grass growing in your yard, 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. But if you see any live roots, you need to wait for these to re-sprout and grow enough leaf surface and then re-spray with Round-Up. I always spray Roundup at least twice and often 3 times to completely eradicate the 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.