How to Kill Grass with Compost?

Do you want to start your garden by killing the lawn grass with compost? Even my father adopted the composting process to kill grass when I was young to start our garden. Over the years, I gained a lot of experience working with him.

So, in this article, I’ll write about how to kill grass with compost-based on my practical knowledge.

You will find that the composting process is recommended by most home gardeners to kill the grass. In this process, you have to mow down the big grasses first. Then, you need to lay down a few layers of paper and cardboard on the lawn and apply inches of mulch and compost to it to start the process.

After watering and nurturing for a definite period, the grass will get killed eventually. Continue to read the rest of the article to know about this process in detail.

How to Kill Grass with Compost

Different Methods to Kill Grass from Your Lawn

You can choose any of the three major procedures to reduce or remove grasses from your lawn. These three methods are widely used around the world. But remember, all of these methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, you must take extra precautions before applying any of these to your surroundings.

First method:

The first method requires professionals to perform because it includes the usage of toxic chemicals. They use these toxic chemicals on your lawn to kill grass faster than any other method.

But keep in mind that these chemicals are so powerful, that they will also kill any environmentally friendly microorganisms, fungus, and soil pathogens, for example, Actinomycetes, Mycorrhiza, Nematodes, etc. The chemicals not only kill grass but also degrade the value of soil. Using such toxic chemicals too much will destroy all organic matter and affect nearby trees.

So, if you are a nature lover, we request you not to adopt this method.

Second method:

The second method is quite manual and exhausting because it requires hard labor to perform. You need to use a sharp shovel or sod cutter to remove grass and weed seeds from your lawn.

It will always be good for you to sharpen up your tools before using them, otherwise, it will require extra push and strength to get your desired outcome.

But if you have back pain or you’re physically tired, you can always hire professionals to do this for you.

Third method:

The third method that we will be writing about in detail is known as sheet mulching. You don’t have to use toxic chemicals and it doesn’t require hard labor to perform.

But keep in mind that you should have enough time in hand to get rid of the grass from your green lawns properly.

What is Sheet Composting?

Among all the methods that we have discussed, or have known before, sheet composting is one of the best eco-friendly ways to kill grass and weeds. You may also know this as lasagna composting or sheet mulching.

It is good for you that this process is quite inexpensive, less exhausting, and requires regular cheap materials to operate with simple skills. You can kill lawns easily, by creating a deficiency of sunlight. Spreading layers of different materials on the grass will eventually break down into compost, thus giving you nutrient-rich soil while killing weeds along the way.

You can perform sheet mulching in almost all types of lawns, for example, Kentucky, Fescue, Centipede, Perennial Ryegrass, Couch grass, Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia, Bahia, Pampas, Buffalo, etc. Sheet mulching isn’t dependent on any season, so you can start the procedure at any time of the year.

Just make sure that you have enough time in hand because this entire process will require 6 to 10 months to properly kill your lawn.

How to Perform Sheet Composting

Required Materials and How to Manage Them


Regular cardboard or layer of newspaper (black and white only) that doesn’t contain glossy colors. Otherwise, the metal pigments from colored pages can hamper the composting process.

If you want to buy cardboard, look for places that sell refrigerators or similar house appliances. You can also contact local retail stores to get board-like boxes. If there is a local packing company nearby, you can purchase corrugated rolls from them.


A maximum five-inch layer of mulch. You will find natural mulches like pine needles, grass clippings, small gravel, shredded bark, straw, etc. We recommend you use wood chip mulch. You may find this available at different landscape supply yards.

Try not to use mulch from allopathic trees like Walnut, Eucalyptus, etc. which may restrain plant growth in the future. Make sure that the mulch you get from the tree doesn’t contain any contagious bacteria.

You can also contact the local tree companies who can supply you with readily chipped bark or arbor mulch at a cheap cost.

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If you live anywhere near California, be sure to check the website to purchase mulch for your garden easily.

Clean water:

An adequate supply of clean water. This helps the cardboard to maintain a proper moisture level.

Also, the water provided during the composting process helps to increase fertility. This will help you a lot in the future if you try to establish a vegetable garden on the same soil.

Water Sprayer:

A regular hose equipped with spray attachments. Depending on the lawn area and the speed of your water flow, you can try various attachments that can modify the range of the water spray. Browse Amazon or eBay to find a wide variety of hose fittings, nozzles, sprinklers, and connectors that control water pressure.

Two inches of compost or worm castings. This compost pile will increase the nutrient value of your soil surface and help you to make an edible garden after the grasses are killed.

Lawn Preparation

  • Set the power of your mower to the lowest setting and then begin scalping your lawn.
  • Use your shovel and get rid of any items that get in your way, for example, stones, heavy metals, or rocks. If any of those items are found reusable, you can save them for later purposes. But if any permanent object becomes a barrier, try to deal with it with utmost caution.
  • If the mower encounters any hardscape, you can use a sharp shovel to pick up or trim around that area. This helps to clear a path for the lawnmower. Put the excavated lawn pieces onto the remaining lawn area upside down. You can use the back of the shovel to flatten it up.
  • Keep watering the ground properly, but don’t turn it into clay soil. If the soil remains hard and compact, it will badly affect the composting process. So, apply adequate water at the required places for a short period. You can keep repeating this process to get the required soil moisture.
  • To prevent spillage of mulch onto nearby fields, roads or pavements, you can set up temporary fences at the perimeter of the composting lawn.
Lawn Preparation

Process of Sheet Mulching

  • Select a less windy day to place the layers of newspaper and cardboard. You need to ensure a thickness of 7 to 10 sheets of newspaper on the grass. Ensure that there are no gaps or holes between the sheets so that no sunlight can reach the grass and weeds.
  • In addition, you can include a layer of kitchen scraps, food waste, coffee grounds, fresh green weeds, or animal manure along with leaves and lawn clippings.
  • Try not to place sheets around bushes or plants, but if you have to, place them at least 10 inches away from those plant stems.
  • It will be better if you can manage more manpower for the job. Divide the tasks of placing a layer of cardboard, spreading mulch and compost, and sprinkling water between them. But if you do all these three tasks alone, make sure to do all of them simultaneously.
  • Sprinkle water over the papers or cardboards to keep them soggy enough. This will prevent them from blowing away. Also, watering frequently helps to maintain moisture, increases organic material, and quickens the composting process.
  • For the composting process, spread a two-inch layer of compost over the lawn. This will also help you in the future to create an edible landscape garden.
  • As you lay down the papers and cardboards, keep applying mulch to them. Try to maintain a minimum layer of five-inch. This will prevent them from blowing or tearing away because of strong wind.

Final Words

Wait patiently after the initial processing is done. You need to allow a minimum of 6 to 10 months so that the entire lawn is turned into compost and the grass with weed seeds is killed.

Finally, after a long wait, you will get fertile, loamy, and earthworm-infested garden beds. Then you can start planting flower and fruit trees in this nutrient-rich native soil. Be sure to contact a soil specialist or your local gardeners to get instant tips.

Just remember to keep up the hard work and believe that your labor will never get unnoticed.