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Ridding your lawn of weeds without killing off the grass – A detailed Guide

by Jackson White

Getting rid of weeds in your grass lawn can be a difficult task, especially since weeds multiply really fast and can become a real menace. So how can you go about getting rid of them without necessarily ruining your lawn?

You will agree with me when I say that weeds are easily every gardener’s and lawn owner’s worst nightmare. It starts off with a couple of them, and before you can blink, you have an entire lawn covered with an unsightly weed population with which you do not know what to do. Unfortunately, getting rid of them is not half as easy as getting them to spread, and you may have to master a level of patience and persistence to fully recover your lawn. Thankfully, there is a number of ways through which you can remove these weeds and restore your lawn to its former glory. So, what is the best way of getting rid of weeds in your grass lawn?

The most effective and harmless way of getting rid of weeds in your grass lawn is by uprooting them by hand. However, this method proves most effective where the lawn is small and the weeds are few. What happens when the lawn is expansive and the weeds are too many to uproot by hand? The first thing you need to know is that each weed presents a different characteristic, and that each has a different level of resilience.

The table below includes a list of the most common grass lawn weeds, their growth characteristics and how to get rid of them.

Common grass lawn weeds and how to eliminate them

Weed name
Type of weed
Mode of growth
How to remove it
Perennial broadleaf
Through seeds that germinate all year round
Selective weed killer, plucking
Annual and perennial broadleaf
Root fragments and seeds
Non-selective broadleaf killer, plucking
Common Ragweed
Annual broadleaf
Numerous seeds (60,000+ per plant)
Weed killer
Ground Ivy
Perennial broadleaf
Above ground stolons, seeds
Weed killer
Quick Grass
Perennial grass
Rhizomes, seeds
Plucking, weed killer
Yellow Nutsedge
Perennial sedge
Rhizomes, seeds, underground nutlets
Weed killer

Having identified some of the most common grass lawn weeds, let’s delve into some of the most effective ways to ensure that your lawn enjoys freedom from stubborn weeds.

How to safely rid your lawn of weeds without killing grass

Burning it

Yep, you read right. The use of a good old flame burns the weeds and causes them to immediately wilt. For best results, use a regulatable flame torch that allows you to zero in on the actual weeds without spreading the heat to the grass on your lawn. The heat causes the weeds to wilt immediately and to die off over time.

When using this method, however, ensure that there are no dry twigs and vegetation that could easily catch fire, especially in the dry season. You may end up with more damage than you bargained for.

Covering it with plastic wrap

The use of plastic wrap is one of the most effective and safe methods of getting rid of weeds in your grass lawn. In more technical terms, this method is referred to as solarization, and it takes advantage of the sun’s heat to slowly kill off the weeds over time. To achieve the best effects, use a clear plastic wrap to completely cover the area covered by the weeds. Leave it as such for a period of 14 to 45 days depending on the consistency of the sun’s heat. This method proves efficient since it rids the weeds of air and also slowly ‘cooks’ them as heat builds up.

As an alternative, you can use opaque plastic wrap that also blocks out all sunlight which ensures that photosynthesis does not take place. The lack of food, combined with extreme heat and no air eventually causes the weeds to die off.

Using chemical weed killer

Getting rid of weeds chemically is a fast and effective method, but more often than not, you are going to deal with one environmental repercussion or other. This is largely because the chemicals in the weed killer can become pollutants to the soil, air and water bodies around your home.

Generally, there are two types of chemical weed killer. The first and most common is the non-selective type. This type proves effective on all types of weeds, but you have to be careful during application since it may end up harming vegetation that you do not want to get rid of.

The second type of weed killer is the selective kind. This one is usually specific to a particular weed, and the good thing is that surrounding vegetation will not sustain any form of harm. On the downside, though, this method may prove expensive, especially where there are many types of weed on your lawn.

Home-made remedies

One of the things I enjoy most about gardening is the fact that I can easily improvise whenever I feel that the store is too far away, or when I want to get creative. Here are a few home-made weed killers.

  • Salt solution

Salt solution causes weeds to die off. Dissolve one part salt in 8 parts solution and add in a bit of dish soap to ensure the solution does not roll off the leaves. Be careful not to spill it into the sol since salt prevents plant growth.

  • Vinegar and dish soap

Vinegar penetrates the surface of the leaf and causes it to dry off, eventually killing the weeds. The dish soap acts as an adhesive.

Have in mind that constant care of your lawn ensures that it enjoys a good deal of health at all times. Make certain that such practices as watering, mowing, fertilization and aeration are done in a timely fashion to ensure that weeds do not have a chance to grow and thrive.

Final thoughts

A beautiful lawn needs constant care to thrive and stay beautiful. However, weeds have a way of developing, even after thorough routine care. When this happens, do not fret. Pick one of the methods highlighted above to get rid of the weeds and keep at constant routine care to avoid recurrence.


Can I use the smothering method on weeds?

Yes, you can, but you have to ensure that all seeds also die to prevent re-growth of weeds.

Are pre-emergence herbicides effective?

Yes, they are. They ensure that your lawn thrives without competition from potential weeds.

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