If you want to turn an area of your lawn into a garden bed for flowers or vegetables, this requires removing a large patch of sod. While you can do this by digging or tilling the area, this options can mean a lot of work for you.
While digging and tilling having their advantages, smothering and using herbicides are two of the easiest methods of sod removal.
Blood, Sweat, And Sod
Digging or tilling up the sodded area you wish to use as a garden bed is effective, but it does require you to put some muscle behind it. So, if you're up to the physical challenge these are good options of removing turf with little or no damage to the surrounding environment.
These methods are also best if you want to plant your garden immediately, as smothering and using herbicides do not provide you with instant results. Tilling is actually good for the new garden bed. The earth turned over by the tiller helps works organic matter back into the soil.
Cover And Smother Sod
If you don't feel like doing the backbreaking work of tilling and digging, you can smother the sod. This is a simple method that uses plastic, newspapers, or cardboard to block out sunlight and trap heat underneath to kill the grass. You need to cover the entire area you wish to use as a garden, and place rocks or soil around the edges of plastic sheeting to hold it in place. If you use cardboard or newspaper, you can throw some grass clippings or compost on top of it to hold it in place.
This lack of sunlight and high temperatures kills the grass, but it can take several months, depending on the time of year and the materials you use. Plastic works faster than newspaper and cardboard, because it heats up faster. The process is also quicker when it is done in the heat of summer, instead of early spring or late fall.
However, if you choose to use cardboard or newspapers, you can plant right away if you poke holes in them and plug mature plants into the soil. Leaving the paper in place continues to kill off the remaining grass by blocking sunlight.
Spray And Wait To Kill Sod
A herbicide can kill sod quickly, but it can also damage the surrounding plant life, so you must be careful if you choose to use this method. It is important to read the labels and buy a herbicide made to kill the type of grass you have, and not just one type of broad-leaf plant. If you are spraying herbicides on well-established lawns, it may take more than one application to do the job.
Killing sod this way is easy, and you can use it over a large area. You must, however, read directions on the label carefully and not place any new plants in the area until you are sure they won't be affected by the product.
If you have questions about sod removal, you can contact a local sod farm such as California Sod Center or any companies that specialize in landscaping or lawn care for advice. They may even offer services to remove the sod for you.
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