You take the time to plan out your own perfect little garden and everything is going well. You get such enjoyment every time you walk outside and see the colorful blooms and inhale the luscious scents. You are beaming with pride but then something catches your eye.
It appears that some grass has found its way into your precious plot. You quickly pull them out but in the back of your mind, you know you can’t stand there all the time and guard against grass taking over your flower bed.
Is there any way you can handle this situation once and for all so your garden doesn’t become ruined?
Are Herbicides the Only Way to Make Grass Go Away?
While there are specially formulated herbicides that can kill only the grass that is ruining your garden without affecting your plants, most people are leery of the safety of chemicals.
Not only are they worried about losing their flowers but they don’t want to expose chemicals to small children and animals that frequent the outdoors.
If you are interested in using an herbicide make sure you check it out thoroughly before applying it to your flower bed. Do research online, check reactions from other gardeners, and talk to a knowledgeable person at your local gardening center who can guide you in the right direction.
How to Get Rid of Grass Growing in Flower Beds
If you are committed to dealing with this problem using natural means, there are several options that are easy, inexpensive, and reliably effective if implemented correctly.
Here are five ways you can eliminate the infestation of grass and weeds in your beautiful flower bed without hurting any of your priceless plants.
1 – Turn Up the Heat
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to get rid of unwanted grass is to pour boiling hot water over them. This is a simple choice but you must take special care every step of the way.
- Get a large pot, preferably with a spout or find a container that has a spout. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. You really only need water but you can add a cup of salt to make it even more effective. Once it is at the boiling pot, carry it to your garden or transfer it to a container that will make it easy to pour. Slowly and carefully pour the boiling water on the grass making sure to not get any hot water on your plants.
- Repeat to make sure you have “watered” all the grass you want to get rid of.
- The boiling water will kill the grass instantly as well as any seeds that may be lying around and the roots, which will prevent it from growing back.
2 – Make Your Own Natural Herbicide
There is an herbicide mixture you can put together yourself with products you probably already have in your home.
- Get a spray bottle to hold your herbicide once you have put it together.
- Combine 1 gallon of white vinegar with 1 cup of rock salt or regular table salt. You can even use Epson salt if you have it and its less expensive. Add 1 tablespoon of dish soap and stir until it is completely blended.
- Put the mixture into the spray bottle and soak the grass. The vinegar will kill it, the salt will keep it from growing back and the dish soap will make sure the mixture stays on the grass long enough to kill it.
3 – Use Lemon Juice
Because of its high acidity level, lemon juice is another natural herbicide that can help you safely get rid of pesky grass and weeds that are invading your lush landscapes. Some people combine vinegar with the lemon juice to blast it as a double threat.
The combination of acids will cut right through the protective coating on the grass and weeds which will dry them out and kill them. If you still see some stray blades of grass after your application simply repeat the spraying process until they are completely gone.
- In a one court container of white vinegar, add 4 ounces of lemon juice. Make sure the liquids are evenly combined then pour it into a spray bottle.
- Spray the grass and weeds with the mixture carefully. Do not get any of the mixture on any of your plants. Even though it is a natural mixture it can still kill your flowers and plants.
- Check the weather when you plan on spraying the grass. Mid-day while it is hot out is the best time but make sure the weather forecast doesn’t call for wind or rain.
- Keep your hands protected and wear glasses or goggles so you don’t get the acidic mixture in your eyes. It won’t do permanent damage but the burning sensation could be very uncomfortable.
In this video from Lawn Care Life, Jason tests the above 2 homemade weed killer methods on separate patches of weeds.
4 – Use Baking Soda
Baking soda has been found to be effective in destroying crabgrass. If this is the weed that is ruining your foliage, all you need to do is apply baking soda.
- First, make sure you wet the crabgrass completely.
- Take a handful of baking soda and scatter it on the leaves of the crabgrass and the area around it.
- As soon as the crabgrass starts to wither away and die, get a shovel and dig it up making sure you get the roots as you remove the entire plant.
5 – Smother Them with Newspapers or Plastic
The best way to keep grass from destroying your flower bed or garden is to treat the area you would like to develop before you plant anything. It is much easier to kill off weeds and unwanted grass to begin with so you have a clean slate to start your flower garden in.
Then all you have to do is maintain your garden before it gets out of control.
There are several steps to incorporating this process but many of them are optional. It will take a couple of months to work, but if you have a large area, it is a more effective and organic option and will give you an effective base in which to create your flower bed.
- To start with, make sure you have plenty of newspapers on hand. If you have to postpone this process until you have enough that would be more effective than having to stop until you can find more newspapers.
- Some people mow the grass that is already on the ground in the area where they are going to be planting their flower beds. You do not have to but some think it helps the newspapers lay flat easier.
- When you are ready, lay down the newspapers 10 sheets at a time to create the right thickness.
- Make sure you overlap the piles of newspapers to ensure that every area is completely covered.
- Next, you need to cover the newspapers with a 6-inch layer of mulch. This will add some weight to the newspapers and help it stay on the ground without moving or blowing around if it gets windy. It will also help to smother the grass and speed up the process of killing it.
- Now you are ready to spray the area with water. This adds even more weight to the newspapers and mulch and helps begin the process of breaking down and creating nutrients that will enrich your soil.
- After a couple of months, you will be able to safely plant your flowers without having to constantly deal with unwanted grass.
Some gardeners like to use cardboard because it is easier to arrange on the ground but true organic gardeners feel that some cardboard used from discarded boxes may have glue, coatings or dyes on it that could interfere with the mulch breakdown.
The other alternative is using black plastic that you can buy at a hardware store or purchase a couple of boxes of heavy-duty trash bags. If you decide on the cardboard or plastic just follow the same steps listed above.
If you are building a new raised bed garden on top of your newly grass-free plot, see my article on what to put on the bottom of your raised bed garden.
Should You Resort to Professional Herbicides?
While most of these processes may seem like a lot of work, there are herbicides that are created to be safe and effective to use in your garden. Make sure to read the labels carefully to make sure that it does kill grass.
Some only kill certain kinds of grass and others only work on weeds. Your best bet is to speak with a gardening professional who can tell you exactly which products work best to suit your needs.
If you also need to get rid of weeds from a large area, I have more advice on that here.
If all else fails, you can always resort to the good old fashioned way where you keep an eye on your flower bed every day and when you see unwanted grass or weeds growing among your flowers, use a small shovel and dig it out by the roots.
This will keep your flowers growing freely but will require your constant attention.
Whichever method you choose, your garden will reflect your efforts and will be a constant source of enjoyment.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.