Ask a Question forum: Tilling our lawn, mistake..

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New Hampshire
EmilyMiller
May 17, 2018 8:38 AM CST
My husband and I (newbies at gardening) took our neighbors advice and tilled a thick patch of our lawn to make a garden bed. I did not remove the sod first. What can we do at this point to make sure we do not have a grass problem? I was thinking of planting a cover crop over the entire bed for this year. Would that be helpful to kill the grass that was turned into the soil? If so, which cover crop? We were considering buckwheat because it is a warm weather crop. We live in NH.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
May 17, 2018 10:02 AM CST
Unless you have crab or quack grass , the grass will die over a short period of time.
Let it sit and till it again before you plant anything.
There is a type of radish that is good for breaking up lower soil .
It will die over the winter and give you a looser soil.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 17, 2018 10:52 AM CST
Welcome!

Yes, you are right, that neighbor have you some bad advice. I think you are going to have to try to pick up the tilled grass and remove it manually. Tilling doesn't kill grass, it just roots it deeper. Its a good idea if you are planning to plant more grass but that's it. A ground cover won't discourage grass either.

Next time, try a sod cutter.
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Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
May 17, 2018 11:25 AM CST
DaisyI said: Tilling doesn't kill grass, it just roots it deeper. Its a good idea if you are planning to plant more grass but that's it. A ground cover won't discourage grass either.

Next time, try a sod cutter.

IF it is just plain lawn grass, rye, fescue or blue grass, believe me it will die.
If it is quack grass, a sod cutter is a waste of time as the rhizomes are still there.

If you had not tilled a sod cutter would have been a good idea, as then tilling is far, far, far easier but now, simply till it again, thoroughly.
Lawn grasses are not that tough.

How big of an area?

New Hampshire
EmilyMiller
May 17, 2018 12:02 PM CST
To be honest I had tried removing the sod and after three days I got about a 4 ft x 4 ft section done which is why we tilled. The area is 25 ft by 25 ft. And the grass was very thick and strong.We tilled it with our neighbors tractor. We could till again if you suggest. I am curious why that would help. We are raking through it currently but I think it was pretty well tilled the first time (for better or for worse) so the grass roots are all pretty broken up. Was curious if the cardboard /mulch idea would be helpful at this point? I am unsure of the type of grass. It is likely a mix. Some nice thin strands and some wide grasses in there as well. I looked images up without much help, maybe I can tell by the root structure.

Thank you all for your advice on this.
Name: Cheryl
North of Houston TX (Zone 9a)
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 17, 2018 10:27 PM CST
Assume you will bring in new soil, if it will be a raised bed lay 10 layers of newspaper or 2 layers of cardboard to smother out grasses and weeds. Top with your soil. AKA "Lasagne Garden Bed" . Google it
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