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Getting rid of ground cover

So my backyard is kind of a mish-mash of grass, weeds, and groundcover. The groundcover is practically impossible to mow without starting and re-starting my lawnmowever every 5-10 feet. Are there any products on the market that can disburse throughout my yard that will kill the weeds and groundcover, but not harm the grass, or is a complete dig-up and re-start in my future?

A. Spruce
Re: Getting rid of ground cover

If an invasive has taken over your yard to the extent that you can't mow it, it is well beyond the recovery of any weed-n-feed or similar topical nuisance herbicide. Even if you could kill it in this manner, it has already choked out what grass was there, leaving you with bare ground once it's gone.

My recommendation is to start over. I would recommend using a sod cutter and getting rid of the nuisance invasive completely. From there it is your decision whether to rototill to amend and break up the soil or just roll out new sod over the top of the newly stripped ground. I personally like to amend the soil so as not to have to use topical fertilizers. Tilling also breaks up and aerates the soil, leading to healthier, happier grass.

Re: Getting rid of ground cover

I think I can get access to a roto-tiller. Would I still need the sod cutter? Or do I need to cut out the stuff first and then till the soil separately?

A. Spruce
Re: Getting rid of ground cover

I would recommend the sod cutter first because you will be removing most of the invasive material. From there you can work amendments into the soil with a rototiller. You can rent both of these machines relatively inexpensively.

If you've got a green waste program in your area, you can feed the removed material into your pick-up system a little at a time to get rid of it, or you can haul it to a green waste station or landfill.

Amend the soil with organic material such as manure or compost. If you have stables or other livestock operations near you, you can get manure free/cheap, otherwise a landscape supply would have compost material for sale.

Laying sod will accomplish several tasks in one shot:
1 - You will have an instant green lawn that is ready for use in just a few weeks. Seed takes months to germinate and fill in sufficiently.
2 - Sod will smother out seed and roots from the unwanted invasives.

Re: Getting rid of ground cover

When I moved into my present house, the back yard was a total disaster. It was wavy, wall to wall weeds and mole mounds. I chose to zap the whole area with a general vegetation killer. After about two weeks, everything appeared brown and dead. I rented a small garden tractor with a rear mounted roto-tiller. It took an afternoon to really pulverize the earth, while adding several bales of peat and bags of gypsun. The ground was already somewhat low, so I did not want to cut the existing sod, but simply bury it. New sod was then laid on the leveled ground.

That tractor cost a couple hundred dollars to rent, but it was well worth the expense. It made short work of the tilling and also helped level the earth with its blade.

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