What Kills Grass But Not Plants?

Best Weed Killer That Won’t Kill Flowers
Best Weed Killer That Won’t Kill Flowers from yardandgardenguru.com

Having a lush, green lawn is a dream for many homeowners. However, maintaining a healthy lawn can be challenging, especially when there are unwanted plants or weeds that need to be eliminated. It’s important to find a solution that kills grass but not plants, as you don’t want to harm the desired vegetation in your garden or landscape. In this article, we will explore different methods and products that can effectively kill grass while keeping your plants safe.

1. Herbicides

Herbicides are chemicals designed to kill unwanted plants, including grass. However, not all herbicides are created equal, and some can harm desirable plants. When looking for a herbicide that specifically targets grass, you should look for one that contains the active ingredient called fluazifop-p-butyl. This ingredient is highly effective in killing grass and does not harm most broadleaf plants.

When using herbicides, it’s crucial to follow the instructions on the label carefully. Apply the herbicide directly to the grass you want to eliminate, avoiding any contact with desirable plants. It’s also advisable to apply herbicides on a calm day to prevent the drift of the chemical to nearby plants.

2. Organic Methods

If you prefer to use organic methods to kill grass, there are several options available. One effective method is to use organic vinegar with a high concentration of acetic acid. Vinegar can be sprayed directly on the grass, causing it to dry out and die. This method is safe for most plants, but it’s important to note that vinegar can also harm desirable plants if applied directly to their foliage. Therefore, it’s best to target the grass directly and avoid spraying vinegar on nearby plants.

Another organic method to kill grass is smothering. This involves covering the grass with a layer of cardboard, newspaper, or a thick layer of mulch. By depriving the grass of sunlight, it will eventually die off. This method is safe for surrounding plants, as long as you take care not to cover their foliage with the smothering material.

3. Manual Removal

If you have a small area of grass that you want to eliminate, manual removal may be the most practical option. This involves physically pulling out the grass by hand or using a garden tool, such as a shovel or a hoe. It’s important to remove the grass roots as well to prevent regrowth. Manual removal is a safe method for surrounding plants, as long as you are careful not to disturb their roots or foliage.

4. Mulching

Mulching is a popular method for suppressing grass growth in garden beds. By applying a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or straw, you can create a barrier that prevents grass from growing. Mulching not only helps to kill existing grass but also prevents new grass from sprouting. This method is safe for surrounding plants, as long as the mulch is not piled too closely to the stems or trunks of the plants, which can cause rot or disease.

5. Landscaping Fabric

Another effective way to kill grass is by using landscaping fabric. This fabric is placed directly on top of the grass, creating a barrier that blocks sunlight and prevents grass growth. Landscaping fabric is often used in areas where you want to create a new garden bed or establish a pathway. It is safe for surrounding plants, as long as you cut holes in the fabric to allow them to grow through.


When it comes to killing grass but not plants, there are several options available. Whether you choose to use herbicides, organic methods, manual removal, mulching, or landscaping fabric, it’s important to follow the recommended guidelines and instructions to ensure the safety of your desired plants. By using these methods effectively, you can achieve a weed-free lawn while keeping your plants healthy and thriving.

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