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How to Manage Pests

The UC Guide to Healthy Lawns

Kill the existing turf and weeds

The best way to kill the existing lawn and weeds is to apply a nonselective herbicide, such as glyphosate, over the entire area. Glyphosate is a postemergence translocated herbicide that effectively kills turf and grassy and broadleaf weeds. Glyphosate is translocated rapidly in all actively growing plants. Make applications when your turf is actively growing. Do not water within 48 hours after treatment. Though the plants absorb the herbicide rapidly, do not disturb for 7 days. It may take up to 7 days after the application for the grass to completely absorb the material and for symptoms to show. Depending on temperature, it can take up to 2 weeks for the entire lawn to die.

If you do not wish to use herbicides, you can dig out the existing lawn and solarize the soil. Alternatively you can lightly moisten the soil and rototill it. You may need to till the soil several times to remove all of the turf and weeds, raking up the debris in between tillings.

Next step to completely renovating your lawn

Remove the remaining turf

Photo of a person applying an herbicide to turf
Photo by Suzanne Paisley

Be sure to follow the directions on the label and be careful not to spray on a windy day or if rain is expected within 48 hours.


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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