Killing weeds with plastic prior to planting grass

Asked May 9, 2020, 6:46 PM EDT

Hello. I have an old garden that has grown into a weed patch with very little grass. I would like to plant grass there. I was wondering about the correct method of using plastic to kill the weeds in preparation for planting grass, including the reccomended thickness and type of plastic. Now I've heard you can use either black plastic or clear. Is this correct, and if so, could you tell me the pros and cons of each method and the steps to properly execute these methods. If I use this method, will I still be able to plant grass this spring/early summer or will I have to wait til fall? Keep in mind when considering my timeframe that I may have to order the plastic, so there will be additional time spent waiting for its arrival before I can begin. Also, is there any type of grass that would be better to use at this point in the season? Thank you very much for your time.

Alpena County Michigan

1 Response

Yes it is possible to kill off weeds, weed seeds and all growth with a process called solarization but it isn't quick and not without detail. You can read some of that here: https://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/library/gardening/soil-solarization/

You would not be planting grass anytime soon but mid summer heat is the worst time to begin a new lawn anyway. Beyond solarization there is considerable detail to beginning a new lawn as well, with much of it in soil prep. Read more here: https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/establishing_a_new_lawn_using_seed_e2910

Questions to answer up front....will the lawn get enough sun, 8 hours? Will it be able to get a minimum of 1 inch of water per week uniformly? If not quality will suffer. Michigan climate will not support lawns without supplemental watering. Understand also that once in, there is considerable detail in proper maintenance. Here is another link with a variety of lawn subjects: https://www.canr.msu.edu/home_gardening/lawns/index

Finally, one alternative would be involving a professional lawn care company to do
it all for you.

Good luck!