How to Kill Grass Without Killing the Shrubs

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Shrubs and ornamentals, as well as a beautiful lawn, add beauty and value to property. When the lawn begins to merge with flower beds, it becomes a problem. Grass in the flower beds is not only unsightly, but it can choke out the shrubs and flowers or rob them of moisture and nutrients. Getting rid of the grass in flower beds can be an exercise in futility if you're just trying to pull it out by hand. You can use a “specific” herbicide that will kill only grass, but you can combat that creeping lawn with natural means.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden rake or cultivator
  • Cardboard
  • Weed barrier fabric
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Mulch
  • Rake the grass around your shrubs, exposing the roots to the air and sunlight. Avoid raking more than 3 inches deep as you may damage the roots of your shrubs. If you’re combating a grass that spreads by roots and rhizomes, such as bermuda grass, you will have to continue to rake and expose roots of the grass throughout the season. You can also use a cultivator to expose more grass roots to the sunlight.

  • Place a layer of cardboard over the area around your shrubs to block sunlight. When the grass has died, remove all dead plant material and debris.

  • Place weed barrier fabric over the area you've cleared of plant material. This area should be smooth and level to insure the weed barrier fabric lays flat and in contact with the soil. You may need to trim or shape the fabric with scissors or a utility knife to fit smoothly around your shrubs.

  • Spread a 4-inch layer of wood chips or other mulch over the weed barrier fabric to hold in moisture and further block sunlight to discourage the growth of unwanted plants. Cedar wood chips are ideal for this as they deter insects and other garden pests.

Tips & Warnings

  • Leave a little space between your shrubs and the mulch to prevent the growth of mold and fungus.

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References

  • Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images
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