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Check Out Our Recorded Webinar with Master Gardener Michele MacKinnon! (Click Image)

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Options for Removing Grass - From Michele's Notes

Skim sod

(This process allows almost immediate planting but removes organic matter (turf.))
Skim sod option - slice off turf (~ 1” — 2”, green grass & most of roots)
Dig soil (8”-12”, whatever is possible), remove roots & stones; stockpile debris & re-use if possible
Soil test - must check food gardens for lead!! ( ) - More info in Soil testing notes below.
Add 1” compost + 1” bagged top soil - turn into top 2” soil
Let “rest” for 2 weeks (ideal) or plant immediately; add 1” mulch around but not touching plants
Hint: Fast & easy way: Rent a sod skimmer, A to Z Rental - North Haven, (203) 239-4203,

Solarize soil option

(No digging. This process essentially “cooks” weeds & grass to prepare for planting.)
Cut grass / vegetation, as short as possible, then water area
Add 1” compost; 2 inches is even better
Lay clear plastic down - greenhouse film with 4-yr durability rating, 6 mil thickness )(available on Amazon)
Secure edges (use boards, pipes, etc.)
Keep in place for 3 sunny days (min) @ 75 degrees F - may take few weeks if many thick rooted weeds
Remove plastic, cut holes and plant directly into soil, add mulch


Sheet mulch option

 (No digging. Smothers weeds & grass & softens & enriches soil to prepare for planting.)
Cut grass / vegetation, as short as possible - lawn mower on lowest setting
Lay rigid cardboard (ie - shipping boxes) or 8-10 sheets newspaper down and soak thoroughly
Cover with 1” - 2” compost + 1” mulch
Keep in place for 1 month, minimum; 1 month later - check if cardboard & turf underneath about 50% decayed; may
need 2 months to achieve better decomposition.
Leave cardboard/paper in place. Cut holes and plant directly into soil, replace 1” mulch

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Additional Resources