Converting zoysia lawn to garden

by Melody
(Kansas City)

I just found out i have an established zoysia lawn, but I want to slowly convert it to gardens. Will a no-dig garden work over zoysia? If no, any suggestions on how to get rid of it without crazy chemicals?

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Oct 04, 2009
No dig garden over lawn ? zoysia and other grass.
by: ~ Megan ~

A no dig garden can be put straight on top of a lawn, a weed patch, in fact almost anything and if done properly, will kill off the original growth underneath.
Any of those creeping grasses, such as zoysia, quackgrass, couch, twitch and such like are harder to kill off, but it can be done without chemicals. There are several ways:

Firstly, you can dig the wretched grass out and remove every little bit of root and plant. There's always regrowth and you just keep being vigilant, pulling out the grass or turning the soil over and constantly exposing the rhizomes, roots and seeds to be baked by the sun.

Secondly, you can hire a garden flame thrower especially sold to eradicate weeds. You need to keep killing the regrowth until it gives up.

Thirdly, you can smother it. Use at least 15-20 layers of newspaper, or cardboard or old natural carpet, or black plastic (I personally don't like using plastic in the garden, as it always seems to get in the way later). This way will smother the grass/weeds, blocking out light. It's important to make sure you have deep overlaps and seal the edges with something completely light-proof and if possible tuck your smothering layer under and place a heavy board or bricks etc around the edges. Then you almost need to sit there with a gun to catch those stray shoots that are determined to out-gun you!

With any of these methods you will need a year of patience to kill off the grass and weeds. By then they've usually given up hope of ever seeing the light of day again, and you can put down some more no-dig layers, pile up the compost, dig some holes, plant some plants, and spread some mulch.

If you did decide to plant in the area before a year, you will really have to pull out, smother or burn off any tiny little escapee that will try and poke its head out of the hole you have made to plant your plants in. This is hard to do and if you let it go, this gives renewed vigor to the grass or weeds and delays the whole killing effect.

Of course, you could convert a part of your lawn to garden straight away by building a raised bed over your burnt, smothered, dug zoysia, starting with a thick layer of paper, carpet or cardboard as mentioned before. Then put in new soil, compost etc and you can plant immediately without having to worry about the grass and weeds coming through.

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