It’s about the time of year where it’s a great idea to start doing lawn maintenance. Aerating, fertilizing, seeding, trimming, edging, dethatching, etc. etc.ur
You’ll need to spend hours of labor making sure that your lawn is the best in the neighborhood, maybe even the best in the city or county you live in, providing plenty of time for your video-game-addicted children to ignore the space while they avoid the outdoors with their fish-bellied colored skin (I know it’s not just my kids!).
Hey, if you’re lucky, you can even get in countless arguments with the same children while you threaten groundings, beatings and to change the Wi-Fi password over when they’re going to do yard work!
Or you can kill it. That’s right. Kill it.
Straight up murder your lawn. I’m not saying go out and blast it with herbicide until it’s a moonscape, but let’s be honest: Wouldn’t you feel better if you didn’t have a lawn?
Think of all the money, expense, water, carbon credits, time, tools, chemicals, gas, oil, etc. etc.
If you kill your lawn, then you won’t have to do that anymore.
After you blast that insufferable carpet of grass and fire ant habitat to it’s just rewards, you can use the same space to grow flowers, veggies and so very much more. In fact, you can even turn your lawn into a farm!
So, here’s my favorite ways to kill your lawn:
Even if you don’t have a walk-behind tiller, you can rent one from an equipment supply center or big box behemoth store for about $50 per day. Depending on the size of your lawn — the average is about 1/5 an acre — you can probably till all that annoying grass into the earth in a few hours. If you’re renting a tiller, make sure you check the oil level before you crank it and use it. Ideally, you’ll want to set the tilling tines to cultivate first (cultivating is the act of removing vegetation from the soil) to break up the root mass of your sod. After you’re done with that, set the times to till, and grind that stuff under. What is buried will stay dead. Afterwards, you’ll have aerated, fine soil that’s perfect to start a garden in. The only drawback to tilling is the soil will be susceptible to erosion. So some sort of anti-erosion measure will have to be taken.
If you want, you can use a sod cutter to slice it right off the top of the soil. A sod cutter is a pretty heavy duty machine that literally cuts sod right off the ground, just below root level. The sod can then be rolled up like a carpet and composted — or moved to areas where you actually want grass. I’m not judging. You do you. The only drawback to this process is you’ll remove a bit of the topsoil — and it’s subsequent nutrient content — with it. If you’re going to be amending the soil, this won’t be a big problem, but it’s something to think about. Again, you’ll need to provide some sort of anti-erosion method to maintain the soil after cutting the sod. Because the earth won’t be aerated, you won’t have as big and issue as you would tilling it, but it’ll still be something to deal with. Sod cutters don’t work well with overly sandy soils: The vegetable mass of the grass will have to be removed by other methods, if that’s the case.
I love solarizing things! It’s like a magic trick wherein you use the sun to bake weeds and grass to death. This method is relatively simple. Use a piece of clear or black plastic (clear plastic works best) to cover the area you want to eradicate, then come back a few weeks later and laugh at the grass genocide. This method is the least labor intensive of any other method. If the edges are properly sealed — with mulch or earth shoveled around the perimeter, the process is pretty much set it and forget it. It requires warm weather and some patience, but that’s rapidly become more feasible. Once you’re done, depending on the thickness of the grass underneath it, you’ll still have to deal with plant mass — it’s still there, just desiccated. So it’s usually a good idea to cultivate or till the earth immediately after. If not, however, the root mass will provide some measure of erosion control for a time. This process also kills weed seeds in the thin upper layer of the soil. So when you do decide to plant an mini-farm in your front yard, it’ll be easier to control.
I’m actually in the process of a major mulch project right now. I’m covering my entire front law in about 8 inches of mulch. This is my favorite. Mulch hides all gardening sins, provides water retention and kills grass and weeds. The mulch will eventually turn into a growth medium, so you can plant directly into it. If you use wood chips, the material will take nitrogen from the soil, so you’ll need a method to replace it. Mulch can get expensive, especially since 4-6 inches is required for true grass killing power. To help with the cost, you can contact your local utility company or tree surgeon. Most landfills charge a fee to dispose of the ground up branches and trees, so a lot of the time, they’ll drop them off in your yard for free.
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