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How to Remove Dead Grass After Roundup [5 Methods That Work for All Lawns]

Once you’ve killed grass and weeds with Roundup, there are several methods that can be used to get rid of the dead, brown vegetation. They are:

  • Remove the dead lawn with a sod cutter.
  • Mow dead grass as low to the ground as possible, then use a dethatcher or power rake to remove any remaining material.
  • Use a string trimmer or weed eater to cut dead grass off at ground level.
  • After mowing grass low, till remaining dead grass into the soil.
  • In small areas, use a shovel to cut away dead grass, removing the top 2–4 inches (5–10 cm) of soil to get rid of grass roots.

Some methods are best for removing dead grass from an entire yard, while others excel when you are getting rid of patches of dead grass, or dead grass growing through concrete. Read on for more information on how and when to employ each of these methods.

how to remove dead grass after roundup

5 Methods to Remove Grass Killed By Roundup

After you’ve sprayed grass, weeds, or any other vegetation with Roundup, wait 14 days before you begin removal. This allows time for the Roundup to work through the plant’s system, killing it down to the root. If you begin cutting or removing the grass sooner than this, you may interrupt the herbicide’s process, which can cause pest grass to regrow.

  • Wait 14 days after Roundup application before removing dead grass.
  • Roundup is a systemic non-selective herbicide that requires 7–14 days to kill plants.
  • Attempting removal too soon after Roundup application may result in the grass not being killed—it could grow back.

Once your grass has been fully killed by the Roundup, it’s time to get rid of the old turf. Here’s how:

Sod Cutter

You can rent a sod cutter from your local hardware store. This handy, motorized piece of equipment will remove the existing grass in your lawn, along with the top 2–3 inches (5–7.5 cm) of topsoil, where grass roots are thickest.

This option is great for getting rid of dead grass and root material to expose topsoil. It’s essential when removing dead grass before preparing to seed the lawn or install new sod.

Best For: Preparing large yards for new sod installation.

Mow and Dethatch

As an alternative to using a sod cutter, you can remove dead grass from an entire lawn with your standard lawn mower and a dethatcher or power rake. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Set your mower blade to its lowest setting, to cut the grass close to the soil level.
  • Mow your yard thoroughly, bagging the grass clippings as you go.
  • Use a dethatcher or power rake to rip out the remaining thatch and root material.
  • Mow and bag again to remove thatch.
  • Rake any remaining thatch and discard it.

This method is often faster than using a sod cutter, and it doesn’t remove any precious topsoil for your yard. If you plan to reseed your turf within the next few months, this is the best option to remove dead grass from an entire yard.

Best For: Preparing large yards for seeding.

String Trimmer

After you’ve used Roundup to kill grass growing up between bricks or concrete seams, use a string trimmer to cut the dead grass off at ground level. Because Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, kills grass down to the roots, you won’t have to worry about regrowth. The dead roots will decompose naturally.

This method can also be used on small patches of grass in your yard. A stringer trimmer placed close to the ground will cut dead grass off at soil level and destroy tough thatch.

We don’t advise using a string trimmer if trying to remove dead weeds from rocks.

Best For: Removing dead grass from between pavers or in concrete seams.

Rototiller

If used correctly, a rototiller can recombine dead grass with soil. This loosens the soil, making it a better place for new grass seed or sod to take root. It also incorporates dead grass with dirt to speed up decomposition. To make this method work for you, do the following:

  • Mow the dead grass at your mower’s lowest blade height. Bag the dead grass clippings.
  • Use a rototiller to thoroughly till the dead grass area down to 6 inches deep (15cm).

A rototiller can be rented from your local hardware store for this purpose. Tilling the dead grass into the soil is extremely helpful for preparing soil for sod installation or laying seed. However, tilling may bring buried weed seeds to the surface, where they will attempt to sprout. Water the area for 2 weeks and kill any weeds or undesirable grasses that sprout.

Best For: Large areas where new seed or sod will be established.

Shovel

When removing dead grass in small patches or sections of your yard, there’s no need to rent any heavy motorized equipment. A spade or square shovel can be used to get rid of the grass killed by Roundup application.

  • Use your shovel to cut the area of dead grass into sections approximately 8 inches square (20 cm).
  • Remove the 8-inch dead grass sections, along with 2–3 inches (5–7.5 cm) of topsoil.
  • Removing the topsoil gets rid of roots and thatch, prepping the ground for new sod or seed.

This method essentially replicates the work of the sod cutter on a smaller scale. In order to make your job easier, water the area the day before you plan to remove the dead grass. This will make it digging easier.

Best For: Preparing small areas where seed or new sod will be installed next to existing grass.

Will Grass Killed by Roundup Come Back?

Grass killed by Roundup will not grow back from the root. Roundup is a very effective chemical herbicide that kills all varieties of plants completely. If a grass plant is brown 14 days after Roundup has been sprayed on it, then it will not come back.

  • Roundup kills grass completely—preventing regrowth from the roots.
  • Roundup does not kill seeds. Weed and grass seedlings may sprout up in areas that were previously sprayed with Roundup.

Standard Roundup does not act as a pre-emergent herbicide, so it will not kill any weed or grass seeds in the soil. An area where you’ve killed grass with Roundup is prone to re-invasion, so it’s time to plant a new lawn or take further weed prevention measures.

Can You Plant After Using Roundup to Kill Grass?

As long as you’ve waited 14 days after spraying Roundup and your old grass is dead, then your lawn is ready for new grass or other plants. All you have to do is remove the old grass first.

  • Areas sprayed with Roundup are safe for planting garden vegetables and grass within 3 days.
  • You can plant new grass immediately after removing dead grass.

Keep in mind, this applies to standard Roundup products. Some Roundup formulations are designed to prevent new plant growth for months afterward. If you have used one of these to kill grass, anything you plant in the area of application will not grow.

What is the Easiest Way to Remove Dead Grass Killed by Roundup?

After you kill them with Roundup, you can remove grass and dead weeds from an entire lawn with a sod cutter, by mowing low and dethatching the lawn, or by rototilling dead grass into the top 6 inches (15 cm) of soil. To remove dead grass in localized areas, use a string trimmer to cut it off or soil height. Alternatively, you can dig up dead grass and root material with a shovel. These methods will work regardless of grass type, leaving you with a blank slate to repair your lawn or start anew.

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