Getting rid of weeds before laying new lawn.

9 Jul 2009
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West Glamorgan
United Kingdom

I am in the process of sorting out my garden which was an absolute jungle when I moved in. I have an area where I want to lay a lawn. Last summer I cleared all the brambles. At the moment the ground is uneven with tatty wild grass, and various weeds, dandelions, bindweed and some brambles which have re-sprouted.

Of particular concern is a mystery weed which I've been unable to identify, picture below. It is infesting all of the garden and difficult to get rid of. I've dug over flower beds, doing my best to remove all roots, but this weed still reappears. I've treated other areas of the garden with sodium chlorate weedkiller. This does kill everything, but within 6 weeks, the first thing to regrow is this weed. If you try to pull it up, it's impossible to get all the roots, they just snap. It's virulent stuff and will grows at a rate of inches a day. In short - I don't know how to get rid of this and want to make sure it doesn't infest my new lawn.

Since the ground is uneven I'm going to dig over the whole area to flatten it, it's not a huge area, only about 30 square metres. I'll remove as many roots as I can, but from experience I know I won't get them all.

What is my best bet for making sure that my new lawn is as weed free as possible?

As I'm not in a hurry I'm considering dosing the whole area with sodium chlorate in an attempt to kill everything. Then leave it for a couple of months until the weeds inevitably reappear before attacking it with weedkiller again in the hope that 2 doses will do the job. Then next spring when the weedkiller has dispersed either seed or turf the new lawn.

Or would it be better do dig the area over and immediately turf? Would turf and regular mowing keep the weeds down, or will they grow through?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



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that's horse tail m8

got it myself and feel like im fighting a loosing battle.

google it and you will see its not an easy weed to get rid off.
that's horse tail m8

Thanks for the tip - yes, it sounds like that's what I've got. Having read about it, it sounds like an absolute nightmare, roots 5 feet deep and producing millions of spores!

I have read in a couple of places that ammonium sulphamate will kill it. Unfortunately this has now been banned as a weedkiller, but there is someone selling it on ebay, so I might give that a try!
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That's a good plan, you will be able to kill off loads of soil organisms too, as well as all the earthworms.

Just get the mower out, and mow every week. Not much apart from grass survives that sort of treatment in the end.

If you want to kill off everything, cover it in cardboard, then cover that with a few inches of manure. You could also use weed suppressing fabric (at least 180g/sq m). Leave for a few months.

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