Remove Grass from Flower Beds – A Guide

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Real Men Sow

There are many ways to remove grass from flower beds. Grass, if left alone, can become a weed when it grows in flower borders, flower beds, and other areas you don’t like. Removing it might be a pain but there are a lot of options you can choose from. Chemical weed killers are one common option, but they can be dangerous. There are also organic options, such as covering the ground. Even if your garden is small, the traditional hand-weeding method may still be a good option. Each case is different, and your decision will depend on several factors.

Assess Your Unwanted Grass Problem

But first, assess the severity of your problem in your garden and determine where this grass is growing. You will be better able to decide the best method to remove grass in flower beds, or borders in your garden if you have a clear picture. These are the main points you need to remember:

Do You Want To Prevent Grass From Growing?

This is the best time to start thinking about grass if you plan a new garden or a flower bed. They can be stopped from growing easily and without the need for any chemicals. Our green friends know that prevention is better than treatment.

Have Grass Cropped Up In Your Planted Flower Bed?

If you already have plants in your flower bed and start to see grass, the situation will be different. It is important to act quickly. This depends on gravity and will determine the next steps.

Is the Infestation Serious?

The best scenario is that you will find the problem early on and only have a few plants. In this case, a quick hand-weeding and some mulching can solve all your problems. You may need to take more severe measures if the grass has established and especially if they have a large root system.

The Types Of Plants You Have In Your Beds

It may seem surprising, but perennials cannot be treated with traditional grass or weed killers. You can use selective grass killers or other methods. If the problem is severe enough, you might decide to sacrifice an annual crop for the sake of the plant. Annuals will not survive the majority of grass killers.

The Environmental Impact You Wish To Have

Organic gardens are exempt from chemical grass killers. Even if your garden is not organic, remember that all chemical products can have an impact on your plants. Similar to the previous point, remember that if you grow food crops in the bed or nearby the bed, these plants can absorb toxic chemicals and end up being eaten.

What Type Of Grass Do You Have?

couch grass
Couch grass or Elymus repens

Some grasses are easy to get rid of, but others can be very difficult! Elymus repens, also known as couch grass, is one of the most popular grass. It can be found in almost every garden in the temperate zones. These plants are difficult to remove as they produce overground stolons, or worse! Creeping rhizomes. These will be broken and propagated by pulling the plant. Check to see if your weed has rhizomes and stolons. You will need to use a carpet method that eliminates roots from the affected area.

Effective Methods To Remove Unwanted Grass from Flower Beds


Chemical Ways To Remove Grass 

The chemical methods below were once the norm, but are now being replaced with organic and other methods. Chemical methods are not permanent and can pollute the environment. They can also reduce the immune system of your plants.

Applying Pre-Emergent Herbicide

Pre-emergent herbicides will not kill grass but will prevent seeds from germinating. If you have planted your flower beds, this is the best herbicide that you might choose. Although they won’t kill all perennials, most annuals will die. Before you buy a herbicide, make sure to read the label. Pre-emergent herbicides are usually available in granular forms.

  1. Hand-weed the flower bed to remove them from the soil
  2. Read the instructions on the package carefully since you’re going to be handling a potentially dangerous substance.
  3. Sprinkle granules onto the soil to ensure that it’s evenly distributed on the ground
  4. Water the flower bed to make sure the herbicide is dissolved into the soil.
  5. Continue this treatment for 2-3 months to prevent potential seeds from growing.

Selective Post-Emergent Herbicide

Post-emergent herbicides will kill any grass in your flower beds. You should avoid using a generic post-emergent insecticide as it can also kill your flowers.

  1. Use a Selective Post-Emergent Herbicide that won’t damage your plants. Read the label that indicates the type of grass the herbicide kills, and yes, it’s possible that it won’t cover all weeds.
  2. Read the instructions carefully and you should not reuse the container it has been in.
  3. Add water if it’s granular, however, don’t add any more water if the herbicide is liquid.
  4. Apply the herbicide again if it’s necessary

Natural Ways To Remove Grass

Alternatively, there are natural ways to remove grass from flower beds that are not as harmful as the chemical methods. The methods, however, involve more work and takes a lot of time but prove to be more effective in the long term.  You can choose from the methods listed below.

Hand Weeding

Hand weeding is the best and most gentle way to get rid of it if it’s just a few leaves or a small area. However, even hand weeding can be tricky, that’s why you should do it when the soil is soft and loose. It is best to not do this after a heavy downpour. You will break the roots and they will become heavy. You will also end up removing a lot of soil from your gardens.

Clay is more difficult to work with if the soil is completely dry. Instead, do it a few days later after it has rained. Make sure it is still humid but not too wet. Clay is heavy! It should not be dry as clay compacts into a block. Sand is the easiest soil type to hand-weed, followed closely by loam.

  1. Wear Your Gloves as you hand-weed to keep the soil off your nails and to keep your hands clean
  2. Take the plant by the base and pull the roots out of the ground. Do this slowly or you might damage the roots and the aerial part of your plant. However, for those stubborn grass, you can twist it lightly to help remove them.
  3. Place the plants under the sun to dry. Through this, you can add them to your compost pile after.


Mulch can be used as both a preventive and treatment after your flowers have been planted. Mulch is one of the most efficient methods. It looks great in flower beds, and can even be made permanent.

  1. Choose the perfect mulch to use. There are many kinds of wood barks to use and some are more durable than the others. There are also straws that are less durable but can reflect sunlight. This kind of mulch is ideal for vegetable gardens. Leaf mulch is also great when your goal is to renew the soil. This mulching can be used to feed the soil and prevent weeds.
  2. Hand-weed if it’s necessary, you can also till the soil and rake it to level.
  3. Water the flower bed as soon as you remove the weeds to keep it moist. Mulch would retain the moisture and will require less water.
  4. Cover the soil with mulch
  5. Add mulch after months, when needed.

Smothering The Grass

This method is great for making vegetable and flower beds. It’s also a favorite with organic gardeners. You can also recycle unwanted newspapers from your cabinet with this method, which is safe and inexpensive. Choke the grass with light to make it die before you plant your flowers. You will only need old newspapers, old cardboard sheets or old carpets. Also, you can recycle your black (or dark!) plastic sheets.

  1. You’ll first need to reduce the grass. This doesn’t mean you need to cut the grass, you can simply use sheets to do the work. You may also turn the soil with a shovel or hoe.
  2. Use sheets to cover the whole flower bed, the sheets can be cardboard, carpets, or newspapers.
  3. Press the sheets as close as possible to the soil by using large boards of wood or other heavy materials.
  4. Water the sheets and soak them to help them stick better to the ground.
  5. Mulch over the sheets and wait for two months for the effectiveness of this method.
  6. You can remove the sheets but cardboard and newspapers can decompose and nourish the soil.

Soil Solarization

Organic gardeners are embracing soil solarization as an alternative method of controlling weeds. It’s ideal for preventing grass growth. It will not only kill all weeds, but it is also a great way to sterilize soil and burn seeds.

As with many organic methods, the idea is straightforward. To burn all weeds, and even some of the seeds, you can use the heat and light from the Sun. You will basically “cook the grass” and the seeds. This is not recommended for flower beds that have plants. It will dry out the soil, and your plants will be affected. This method is best used in the summer but can also be used at other times of year.

  1. Turn the soil with a spade to allow heat to penetrate the soil and dry the seeds.
  2. Overlap transparent plastic sheets to cover the soil
  3. 4 weeks into the summer season, you’ll be able to see how the sun works
  4. Take the sheets off to recycle them later as a winter polythene tunnel
  5. Mulch the area and plant the seeds

Methods To Avoid When You Remove Grass from Flower Beds

You may have found other methods of killing weeds on the internet. These methods are not as effective as the ones we have.

  1. Vinegar – Takes a while to kill grass and makes the soil very acidic. Vinegar is also toxic to most plants.
  2. Burning the soil – This process would make the area like a desert. The soil texture will change and won’t be able to hold on to nutrients and water too much.
  3. Boiling Water – Will impoverish the soil and kill beneficial microorganisms
  4. Salt – Not all plants tolerate salt, and this would only give you salty soil that most plants can’t grow in.
Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.