How to Kill Existing Grass & Weeds or Till to Start New Lawn

Updated February 21, 2017

If your lawn is filled with more weeds than actual grass, you can spend all of your time weeding. Or you can till up your lawn and start all over again with a new lawn. With the affordability and selection available in sod and grass seed, starting a new lawn is an attractive prospect for some homeowners. But before you start your new lawn, you must first get rid of the old weeds. Two methods you can use are ploughing under your old weeds and killing them completely through herbicides or solarisation.

Soak the vegetation in a lawn with a garden hose until it is saturated.

Fold a sheet of 4 mil plastic over so that it is double in thickness. Anchor the plastic on its edges with landscaping staples.

Leave the plastic in place for at least six weeks. The sun will penetrate the plastic and heat everything below it. This will kill grass and seeds in the soil.

Select a broad-spectrum herbicide with a spray applicator for your lawn. An herbicide containing glyphosate will effectively kill most weeds.

Spray the herbicide over your lawn as directed by the package. Hold the applicator in front of you and depress the plunger to activate a fine spray of chemical. Wave the herbicide applicator in a fan shape to distribute the spray evenly across your lawn.

Observe your lawn. If the vegetation dies, It will turn brown and brittle. Spot-treat any area of lawn that is not dead.

Mow your lawn weeds down to 1 inch in height.

Hook a plough attachment to the back of a lawn tractor by aligning the holes on the attachment arms of both devices and inserting a bolt between them. Insert a pin into the bolt to hold it in place.

Set the blades on the plough so that they break up the ground to a depth of 12 inches. By turning the vegetation this deeply, you bury the seeds of the weeds so that they cannot receive enough light to sprout.

Spread a layer of compost and peat moss over the lawn in a 4-inch layer. This will add nutrients to the soil so that your grass will grow well.

Plough the entire lawn with the tractor and plough attachment.

Remove the plough attachment and attach a grading blade to the back of the tractor. Smooth the lawn so that it has a uniform surface that is suitable for laying sod or seed on to it.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • 4 mil plastic
  • Landscaping staples
  • Broad spectrum herbicide
  • Mower
  • Plough
  • Lawn tractor
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Grading blade
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About the Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.