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How to Kill Ribbon Grass

Updated November 21, 2016

Ribbon grass is notorious for invading lawns, according to the University of Illinois Extension. As an ornamental grass, ribbon grass can grow out of its designated planting locations and into garden beds or lawns. Sunlight and adequate irrigation contribute to the plant's vigorous growth. Because ribbon grass has attractive qualities that you may want to incorporate into your yard, plant these invasive plants in containers to prevent the grass from spreading. Kill existing ribbon grass in your yard to protect other ornamental plants from invasion.

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  1. Locate the ribbon grass growing in your lawn and flower beds. Drive a shovel underneath the grass to completely remove. Throw the ribbon grass away or burn.

  2. Spread mulch over the areas where the ribbon grass was growing in flower beds. Apply at least 6 inches of mulch in these areas to prevent leftover seeds from germinating. Keep the mulch over these areas for one growing season.

  3. Broadcast your lawn's grass seeds over the former ribbon grass areas. Spread 1/8 inch of dirt over your grass seeds and water thoroughly.

  4. Water the newly planted grass seeds four times a day with a light mist from the garden hose until the grass reaches 1 inch in height. Return to your regular lawn watering routine.

  5. Hand-pull any existing ribbon grass that sprouts from the lawn or garden bed. Monitor these sites for the entire growing season.

  6. Tip

    Place garden fabric over the ribbon grass areas after removal to prevent weed germination. The fabric will suffocate the grass and seeds.


    Avoid using a broad spectrum herbicide on the ribbon grass areas because the chemicals will kill off surrounding ornamental plants and grass.

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Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Trash bag
  • Mulch
  • Lawn seeds
  • Compost
  • Garden hose
  • Garden fabric

About the Author

Faith McGee
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