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How to Get Rid of Ryegrass

Updated February 21, 2017

Ryegrass, sometimes mistakenly confused with rye grain, generally is viewed as an invasive, rapidly growing weed. Because it does most of its growing during the winter months and has a long, tangled root system, it often is the headache of gardeners and lawn lovers when spring rolls around. In some areas, ryegrass has become naturally resistant to chemicals that were once widely applied to control its encroachment. This has turned it into a disliked, small-grain plants. One of the best natural methods remaining to fight ryegrass growth is smothering.

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  1. Set a lawnmower to its lowest cutting level. Mow the entire area of ryegrass while the weather is still warm.

  2. Cover the clipped ryegrass with plastic tarps and secure them with wooden stakes. Keep the ryegrass covered during the hottest weather to kill it.

  3. Avoid watering parts of the lawn that closely border the areas of ryegrass. Otherwise, the ryegrass may steal the moisture and continue to grow.

  4. Remove the tarps when the hottest weather has passed. Rake up the dead ryegrass. Dig up any deeply embedded roots with a shovel until you are left with bare soil.

  5. Aerate the soil and leave it fallow until the spring. Examine the area for any new ryegrass growth over the winter. Apply an herbicide to any remaining ryegrass and wait for it to die before planting sod or grass seed in the area. Follow the label instructions for application details for the herbicide.

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Things You'll Need

  • Lawnmower
  • Plastic tarps
  • Wooden stakes
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Herbicide
  • Sod or grass seed

About the Author

Jourdan Townsend has been writing since childhood. Her articles appear in a collection of student works at the University of Oklahoma as well as in the school's "Honors College Journal." Townsend also composes poetry, some of which can be found in an edition of the "Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans." Townsend holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication.

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