Do I need to remove grass roots

29 Apr 2012
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United Kingdom

Maybe a strange question. I am trying to get quote for removing existing overgrown and patchy grass, paving stones, gravel etc with new turf.

One Gardner said I need to remove grass with roots to about an inch of soil. Then put 2/3 inches of topsoil . Other one said no need to remove grass roots and then put a layer of top soil.

Do I need to remove grass roots or should I spray glyphosate after removing grass or just remove grass without any glyphosate?

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Glyphosate has to be applied to foliage not roots so spraying after removing the grass is a waste of time and money. If I were going to the expense of laying new turf, I'd do it properly by removing the roots of the messy stuff.
spray with glyphosate before clearing the grass and weeds. Leave it for a couple of weeks. It acts by killing the roots (which is what you want) after which the tops will die. Spot-treat anything still living.

After clearing and digging., any disturbed seeds in the soil will start to grow, as will any that blow in on the wind. Assuming they are just little seedlings, not big roots sprouting, spray them with a fast-acting weedkiller like Weedol. You can spray up to and including the day you re-seed or lay turf, as long as the spray has had time to dry first, with both glyphosate or weedol. There are very few persistent weedkillers on the diy market that poison the soil or prevent regrowth. Those that do are sold as long-term path weedkilllers, such as Pathclear.
What JohnD said. If you rotavate, level, and kill weeds that sprout again, you could just reseed rather than turf, it's cheaper and probably easier too. You might want to spread sharp sand before digging if the soil is heavy.
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thank you.

a thought just occured, what if i clear it out then take soem time to plan the new garden before putting new turf/seeds in.(existing one is set up as a bit of an tropical garden with few zones which have been neglected and hence its difficult to fully appreciate the size of the garden currently).

in this case i throught to spray with glyphosate, then remove grass and other weeds (i have got a wildish ivy which is a seperate story to remove i guess!) and then keep spraying with glyphosate on bi/weekly basis to keep it clear. then perhaps in couple of months i can sort it out!

in terms of time of the year, would putting down new turf/seed in say september or october work or is it too close to winter?

if you are going to spray frequently, I wouldn't use glyphosate after the first time; except perhaps on sturdy plants that are growing from big roots. Something like Weedol will kill little weeds and seedlings in a day or two.

Or you could hoe it, though weekly would be better. Hoeing brings hidden seeds up to the surface, where they will sprout and you can hoe them off next time. This is a good way to clean the soil.
its not essential to remove the existing grass roots but it makes the job a lot easier.

On a job i spray it with weedkiller and strip the turf with a turf cutter and dispose of it. This cuts a layer of about 50mm off so most of the roots get taken away with it. then rotovate and add a few tons of new screened soil and grit.

On very big lawns where this is not cost effective or on jobs to help out a friend etc I have just sprayed it and rotovated it all 2 weeks later. You then need to rake and rake and rake to get the majority of the roots and old grass out. Any left in will rot and sink but its not a problem really as every new lawn will settle a fraction and need top dressed after a year or two.

Its cheaper obviously as you don't need a skip or the extra labour to strip turf etc

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