Sheet mulching is the most natural and beneficial method to remove a lawn. This method maintains the soil structure, adds organic matter, requires a moderate amount of labor, and does not require removal and disposal of turf.
Sheet mulching is a method of ‘removing’ your lawn without actually digging it up
- The soil in the area to be sheet mulched should be wet. If the soil is dry, water sufficiently to get the first 4-6 inches of soil wet. One to two normal irrigations should do it. Water at least 24 hours in advance of mowing.
- Mow the grass as short as possible, leaving the clippings on the lawn.
- You will need to add compost for lawns that are brown or not so lush. For a completely brown lawn add 2 inches of compost and water until it is moist down to the grass.
- The green lawn blades and compost will provide nutrients to decompose the rest of the lawn.
- Cover the entire area with cardboard (either used boxes or purchased rolls) or newspaper (10-12 layers). Make sure that the edges overlap six to twelve inches and that no sunlight gets through the paper. The cardboard will smother the lawn and any weeds that might be in the lawn.
- Spread 2 inches of mulch on top of the cardboard. This layer along with the cardboard will keep the mowed lawn/compost from drying out so that the lawn can decompose.
- In the dry summertime check under the cardboard once a month and if dry, water to keep the composting process going. Wait about three months before planting to ensure the lawn is both dead and composted before planting.
Compost & Mulch
This introduction to the use of mulch in the landscape includes a breakdown of recycled mulch types and uses, and provides details and specifications for sheet mulching.
A Spanish version of A Bay-Friendly Landscaping Guide to Mulch: