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Southern Nevada Water Authority

Grass Removal

Grass Removal

Grass can be surprisingly difficult to
remove. Find out how to get rid of it once
and for all.

Southern Nevada lies in a warm arid zone. Warm-season grass and cool-season grass are the two general grass types found in the region.

Cool-Season Grass

Cool-season grass removes easily, simply turn off the water supply right before removal and dig it out. Fescue, Bluegrass and Ryegrass are examples of cool-season grasses.

Warm-Season Grass

Warm-season grass may be more difficult to remove as it is well-adapted to the desert environment and more deeply rooted in the soil. It also will need to be treated with a non-selective herbicide before removal to thoroughly kill the grass down to the root. Make sure not to choose an herbicide that will affect your soil.

Examples of warm-season grasses include Bermuda, Buffalo and Zoysia. Bermuda grass in particular has an extensive root system that is difficult to remove. It must be thoroughly killed with a strong herbicide before removal or it will return once the area is watered. Full removal of Bermuda grass can take between a few weeks and a full season. Use the tips below to properly remove Bermuda grass:

Removing Bermuda Grass

  1. Keep the grass alive. Bermuda grass can only be killed when it is green and growing. If it is brown and dormant, it won't absorb any of the chemicals you apply to it.
  2. Kill Bermuda grass during the warm season when it grows more actively. Shoot for fall when root growth is at its highest.
  3. Apply a nitrogen fertilizer such as 21-0-0 several weeks before spraying to encourage growth.
  4. Don't mow your grass before spraying. The more leaf surface available to absorb the herbicide, the better.
  5. Water heavily three to five days before application to invigorate your grass. Stop watering at least 48 hours before spraying to allow grass to dry completely. Dry grass will absorb the herbicide mix more readily.
  6. Apply herbicide in the morning to reduce wind drift and herbicide evaporation.
  7. Follow directions exactly as written on the product's label.

Herbicide Application Follow-Up

  1. Don't water for several days after applying the herbicide.
  2. After the grass has begun to die (about three to five days), resume watering to "green up" whatever didn't die the first time around. If you water for about two weeks after application and no Bermuda grass grows back, you have effectively killed it.
  3. If you need an additional application, repeat the steps above. Bermuda grass is very hardy and may take multiple applications of herbicide and a full season to destroy. After a new landscape is installed, do touch-up applications with a sponge or spot-spray the herbicide.


For small areas of grass, a shovel will do the trick when it comes to removing grass. Larger spaces may require a sod-cutter, available for rent at home improvement stores or equipment rental stores. A sod-cutter will cut the grass into strips that can be rolled up and carried away and works best if grass if it is alive and healthy. Use caution when operating a sod-cutter and read all instructions before operation.

Grass Disposal

If possible, take grass and debris to a company that recycles green waste. Otherwise, take it to the local landfill. Many trash services will allow you to rent a small container to put the yard debris in. They will deliver it upon request and take it away after the bin is full, for a fee. If you hired someone to remove your grass, waste removal should be included in the service.

Site Preparation

While you're already hauling away waste, take this time to remove rocks, stumps or other debris to prepare your site. You'll also want to use your landscape plan to identify where your plants will be located. Mark the locations with temporary paint or marker flags and take a good look at the visual once you're done to ensure you've placed plants and trees where they will have plenty of room to grow. It's typical to make a few changes once you can see a physical layout, but remember to change your landscape plan to avoid confusion later.


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