Hang on... Didn't you buy artificial grass so that you didn't have to deal with weeds? Sadly you cannot stop nature. At least you don't have to mow, fertilise or water your fake lawn.
Don't worry, killing weeds in artificial lawns is really easy, much easier than killing weeds in a real lawn.
In this handy guide we'll cover all your options from homemade DIY weed killers to strong commercial ones and hopefully provide you with some helpful hints on how to prevent weeds from growing in your artificial grass.
Just want them gone?
3 quick fire ways to kill weeds in fake grass
- #1 - The easiest way, pull them out with your hands - yes really, this is by far the quickest and easiest way although it will require some elbow grease, make sure you get the roots!
- #2 - Use a strong weed killer (this one is recommended for artificial grass) - don't want to do manual labour? Weed killers are an easy way to kill all your weeds.
- #3 - You could try a "homemade weed killer" - be warned they are not as effective as a strong weed killer and some like Bleach might damage your artificial lawn!
Why are weeds growing in my fake grass?
Synthetic grass is far more weed resistant than natural grass but it is possible for weeds to grow at the edges and also through the holes in the under layer. Weeds will grow anywhere there is bare soil, if you don't clean & maintain your artificial lawn be prepared to get weeds.
If you have a bad weed infestation that is re-occurring your synthetic grass may have been installed incorrectly or be damaged - please contact your contractor to get this issue resolved.
Killing weeds with weed killer
Glyphosate is a chemical used in agriculture to kill weeds. However, some studies show that glyphosate may be linked to cancer. The World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic."
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup (the most popular brand of weed killer) it is a strong systemic weed killer widely used in the UK to control weeds - there are many other brands.
It comes either in ready to use or concentrated form, simply spray it onto the weeds in your artificial turf and wait for them to die - it will kill every kind of weed so be careful not to get it onto any plants you wish to keep.
One common mistake people often make is they spray the Glyphosate onto the ground / roots in the hope of preventing future regrowth - this won't work! Glyphosate is absorbed through the foliage (leaves) of the weeds, make sure your weeds are actively growing when you treat the area.
Don't fancy buying weed killer? There is a growing amount of home recipes for weed killers. They won't be as effective as Glyphosate but if your artificial grass was installed correctly, chances are your dealing with just shallow rooted weeds, use these DIY weed killer recipes at your own risk!
Vinegar is an effective herbicide, the acetic acid in it burns away plant matter quickly. It doesn't smell nice and higher concentrations may damage your artificial turf - for this just use normal white vinegar:
- In a spray bottle use pure white vinegar, you can dilute it to make it go further (3 parts vinegar 1 part water), spray the solution onto the weeds you want to kill and wait.
- Alternatively you can just pour undiluted vinegar directly onto the weeds.
Disadvantages of vinegar:
Vinegar doesn't smell too great and if you have a large quantity of weeds your lawn will soon smell like a chippy! Vinegar simply burns away the visible part of the weeds so they may regrow.
Why not try combining vinegar with salt...
Salt has been used for thousands of years as a natural herbicide. A high salt content in soil will prevent plants and weeds from growing. How do you kills weeds in artificial grass with salt? :
- Pour it on, raw: Grab your salt and cover the weed in it. Simple. The salt will dehydrate the weed and within 10 days it will shrivels and die.
- Dilute in water & spray it on: 3 parts salt, 1 part water (use hot water, the salt will dissolve easier). Once diluted spray it on to the weeds you want to kill.
- Mix it with vinegar and spray it on. As in step 2 but do a 50/50 mix of salt and vinegar. Not only is it a good combination in potatoes it is an effective weed killer for artificial lawns.
Disadvantages of using salt:
Salt is very effective against small grassy weeds but it may not work at all on deep rooted perennials. If you have lots of weeds, your going to need a lot of salt. Weeds may simply regrow from the roots.
What not to use
There are many weeds killer designed purposely for natural lawns that you cannot use on a synthetic one:
Anything containing Iron Sulphate should be avoided, it will leave large orange stains on your artificial turf which can be troublesome to remove.
Bleach is a brilliant spot cleaner and it works as a weed killer too but please do not use it on fake grass. It may permanently stain costing a pretty penny to rectify.
Want to avoid using weed killer on your artificial grass? Prefer to use some elbow grease? Then these two age old methods are also highly effective at controlling weeds in fake grass.
Pull them out
If your synthetic grass was installed correctly the weeds growing on it are likely to be very shallow rooted. Simply pull them out ensuring you get the roots if they re-appear do it again.
Chop or mow them down
Mow! I thought you got artificial grass to stop mowing the lawn? If you still have access to a mower or strimmer you can simply cut the weeds down - please ensure the mower is set higher than your blades.
Consistent mowing will weaken the weeds over time and they will eventually die.
How to prevent weeds in artificial grass
1) Keep it clean
Bare soil and muck is an open invitation for weeds. They will blow in, settle down and grow. The easiest and simplest way to prevent weeds in artificial lawns is to ensure you clean it!
Keep it clean! Remove debris such as leaves, muck and rubbish.
Brush your artificial lawn with a stuff brush at least twice a month. This quick and easy job will stop weeds from appearing and it will look so much better.
Choose a brush with plastic bristles not metal to avoid damaging your synthetic grass.
Brush firmly in the direction of the pile. One added benefit of using a stiff brush is that it will keep your fake grass looking perky, bright & upright. A disinfectant can also be used to kill bacteria build up.
2) Weed barriers
Before you even lay your artificial grass you should ensure all the weeds in the area are dead. At this point it can pay dividends to use a pre-emergent herbicide.
The single most important thing to stop weeds growing through your artificial grass is to ensure you have a high quality weed barrier layered underneath - don't skimp on this part!
3) Know your enemy
It's just a weed, who cares? Knowing which weed is growing in your artificial lawn can help. Certain weeds like certain conditions, as Sun Tzu said:
"Know thy enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be defeated"
For example if you have a problem with moss on your artificial grass then it's probably a drainage problem.
4) Seal the cracks
Commonly weeds grow at the edges of artificial lawns ,where there are slight cracks between the edge of your lawn and the path / patio / driveway - whatever.
Seal these areas with cement crack fillers.
This simple yet effective solution will smother smaller weeds and prevent future weeds from growing up through the cracks.