How to kill weeds before sod installation
The easiest way to get rid of non-grassy weeds in an existing lawn is to use a selective herbicide that kills only broad-leaved weeds while leaving grass unaffected.
Nonselective herbecides like Roundup or other weed killers containing glyphosate kill all vegetation in the lawn, including grassy and broad-leaved weeds as well as existing turfgrass. This is the quickest way to completely clear an area where you want to start a new lawn or to get rid of lawn grass in places where you no longer want it.
Always follow manufacturers' instructions for application. Use only as much of the product as you need. Wear gloves and avoid inhaling the material. Take care to keep the spray off nearby plants that you want to keep. Avoid spraying herbicides on windy days, when fine sprays can drift long distances. Cover nearby plants with a tarp or use some other kind of physical barrier. Avoid spraying in very hot weather; some herbicides can volatilize and adversely affect the health of nearby plants.
Thinking green: Herbicide alternatives
Today’s herbicides have been refined for minimal impact on humans and animals, while still effective killing the plants you want to remove. However, overspray can harm other plant life in the yard and garden, and many people prefer to avoid using chemicals whenever possible. If you’re focused on natural or organic solutions for the lawn, there are other highly effective alternatives to killing a worn-out lawn with herbicides.
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Solarizing is a good, low-tech way to remove turf. Solarizing uses the sun's heat to raise the temperature of the soil so much that existing grass or other vegetation is killed. Solarizing will also kill weed seeds in the top 6 to 12 inches of soil and will eliminate many soilborne pests and disease organisms.
The best time to solarize soil is in midsummer when the sun is at its strongest. If you want to kill grass, water it before beginning.
Dig a trench several inches deep around the perimeter of the area you want to solarize. Cover the area with a sheet of clear plastic 1 to 4 mils thick, and press it down onto the grass or soil. Fill the trench with soil to hold the plastic in place. Remove the plastic after one to two months if there has been a reasonable amount of sunny weather. Pull or dig up the dead grass and compost or dispose of it.
Shading out the grass
Another good option is to shade out turf and weeds. Spread numerous layers of newspapers over the area you want to clear, and moisten the paper with water. Cover newspapers with a six-inch layer of mulch, soil, or compost to hold them in place and completely shade out all vegetation underneath. The paper will eventually decompose into the soil, adding organic matter.
You can instead cover the area with black plastic or heavier material, such as pieces of old carpenting, but if they’re not biodegradable, you’ll have to remove and dispose of the cover when the grasses or weeds are dead.
Use organic weed killer- horticultural vinegar.
Horticultural vinegar is an organic solution that kills weeds.Pour commercial vinegar over existing grass for an effective method of killing it.
Horticultural vinegar contains at least 20 percent acid (household vinegar has 9 % of acetic acid) and usually kills weeds in the first application. Pour the vinegar directly over each weed and сover any desirable plants nearby with a cloth or tarp to protect them.