If you are wondering how to kill grass in flower beds, this article is for you.
You want mown grass on your pristine lawn for picnics and playing games. You also want lovely flowers in your flower beds but sometimes the grass escapes and ends up amongst your flowers.
Here’s a list of 10 ways to prevent this from happening and how to get rid of unwanted grass.
10 Natural ways to kill grass in flower beds
In this section, you will learn how to prevent grass in your flower beds in the first place. However, if it is too late for prevention, proceed with the following steps on how to remove it.
When you plan your garden, ensure that your flower beds have a border that is impossible for grass to cross. The metal edging can be bought in garden centers for exactly this purpose.
An alternative is to put bricks or plastic or a shop-bought edging that makes it really difficult for grass to come from your lawn to your flower beds.
2. Deprive grass of light
All plants need light to thrive so cover the grass with newspaper, which you can then cover with soil. When it dies back, lift the newspaper and pull the dead plant out.
Another method is to lay a sheet of clear polythene over the grass you want to remove and allow direct sunlight to do the job for you. Few plants can survive the heat from plastic and direct sunlight. Remove the dead grass when it is brown, ensuring you also dig up the roots.
3. Strim the grass
If you can target a small area of grass with a wire trimmer repeatedly, this weakens the plant and it will eventually give up.
Just be careful not to damage your lovely, flowering plants while you do this. Also wear protective eyewear, as strimming causes cut plants to fly off at speed. Collect up the grass and roots and dispose of these in a compost heap.
4. Weed burners
Heat is an effective killer; think of forest fires and the destruction caused by both flames and heat.
A weed burner enables you to target the plant you want to get rid of, without too much effort and also without using pesticides.
You will need eye protection and gloves and ensure you wear a long-sleeved top and trousers to avoid burns.
5. Boiling water
Boiling water needs to be used with caution near any treasured plants. If the grass is encroaching on an area without many flowers, then a pot of boiling water spilled directly over the top will kill it. It is selective and a dangerous method if spillages occur on human hands so be careful.
The only problem with this method is that it kills off every other thing as well as the grass, which includes beneficial insects, caterpillars, and creatures underground. However, if you have tried other methods and nothing works, this is certainly worth a try.
Cover and mulch with 3 inches of sterile soil or mushroom compost. Trim the grass first and then add the mulch. This deprives the grass of light and it is unable to grow and go to seed. Your flowers will love the extra nutrients too and reward you with blooms.
7. Remove the roots and the whole grass plant
This can be really tough work in dry weather so water the whole area well first. After this, dig below the surface and try to loosen the roots. Then hold tightly onto the grass and pull hard.
By taking the roots, the grass is ripped out and normally grass comes out easily in prepared beds, which were dug well at first. Try spreading some wood chip over the area for a few months to ensure it does not come back.
8. Destroy the roots
Identify if it is a pest like Couch grass, which is a vigorous green, bushy grass with long roots.
If when the roots come out, you can see a white extension like a long piece of string that seems to continue on and on, this may be Couch grass.
This spreads by underground rhizome, settling roots at each stage and you will really need to work hard to eradicate it. Pull it out following its roots to the very end.
It is important to dig out every part of the root and destroy it. Never add them to your compost bin. Then cover the area over with a light depriving cover (black plastic or cardboard) and fingers crossed. A weed killer on this plant will also ensure it does not spread.
9. Stop grass going to seed in flower beds
You will see the seed heads forming so cut these promptly before they begin to multiply. If you stop the cycle, the grass cannot spread.
10. Vinegar and natural deterrents
If you spray vinegar directly on the grass, its acidity will cause the plant sprayed to vanish. You can also make up a mixture of vinegar, salt, and dish soap which will stop grass growing there for a while. Then remove the withered plant once it is brown and easy to weed out.
How do you kill grass without killing plants?
Pull up the entire plant, roots and all. This is a calorie burner and if you feel energetic, removes grass completely. You need to be meticulous with root removal though, as grass can re-grow if you leave even a tiny part of the root.
Mulch the grass by covering it with a thick layer e.g. cardboard, over-covered with compost or leaf mold. Or anything thick enough to deprive the grass underneath of light.
A weed burner. This usually connects directly to a power source in your home and is an excellent way to get rid of grass and other weeds. The heat it emits causes the plant to die entirely.
Maybe you can use decorative grasses as pretty, wilder parts of your garden? If you look closely at the seed heads of some grasses, they are really pretty.
You could plant flowers like poppies and cornflowers in front of these, which will grow really well against the grass, and add a dash of nature to your flower bed too.
Commercial pesticide is available but can be dangerous to the plants you love, children, beneficial bees and insects, and pets, so make sure to keep them out of the garden when you add chemicals.
Wear protective gear and be careful if you plan to use chemicals near ponds since aquatic environments are really vulnerable. You may remove the grass but at a great cost to other wildlife.
How do I stop grass from growing in my flower bed?
Obviously, the best way to prevent unwanted plants is to make conditions terrible for them.
Add a physical border to your flower bed. This will separate your lawn area from your flower bed. This can be paving stones, pebbles, or bricks. It could even be homemade or wood chips, but this in-between layer stops the grass from easily transferring to your flower bed.
Raise the flower bed. Make the bed taller than the lawn by adding extra layers of nutrient-rich manure, sterile compost, or leaf mold so that the grass has to work harder to find a way into your flower bed.
Fill the space! If your seedlings and flowers are planted closely together, then there is very little room for grass to germinate in the first place.
Make removing grass a part of your daily routine in your garden. If you spot a little bit of grass growing, it is very easy to remove a small, new patch. It gets more difficult if it is established so as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.