Grass has started in my thyme lawn. How do I get rid of it.? Arlene

by Arlene Fitterer
(Evergreen, Co.)

Butterflies love Thyme

Butterflies love Thyme

I began a thyme lawn in Co. about 12 years ago. The last 4 years wild grass has begun to come in. I cannot pull it all (I'm 83). Help.

Comments for Grass has started in my thyme lawn. How do I get rid of it.? Arlene

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Nov 01, 2018
Note to Richard
by: Jacki Cammidge, Certified Horticulturist

Unfortunately, you will have two problems using this approach. First, Round Up does not kill seeds. The seeds will just emerge as usual.

This chemical only kills plants and seeds that have already germinated.

The second issue is that thyme is very susceptible to chemical damage, so spraying it to kill grass will just kill both.

There are pre-emergent types of herbicide, one is called Preen, but these only work on undisturbed soil.

The best scenario here is to plant thyme plugs or plants in a pattern, using Preen or other pre-emergent herbicide between the plants until they get big enough to shade out the weeds.

Nov 01, 2018
Using Cornerstone/Roundup in your thyme lawn
by: Richard Parr

Arlene--sometimes you juste have to bite the bullet and reach for some Roundup/Cornerstone Plus. I'm putting in a quarter acre thyme lawn and have sprayed the existing grass with Cornerstone Plus (the cheap generic Round Up) and Surfland, to kill the ton of seed that I know is lying right below the surface, waiting to come up with the sun strikes it. I too have wondered how to manage a thyme lawn if and when grass gets started. Arlene--The very easiest is to mix up a stiff solution of Cornerstone (3 ounces to a gallon) and then soak up two flat sponges in it, put on a set of latex gloves, and then take the two sponges, one in each hand, and sandwich the grass blades between them, dragging the two sponges upwards. Alternatively, you can put on your latex gloves and over them a pair of soft cotton gloves which you wet in the Cornerstone solution, and strip the grass through them. Doesn't take much. Trying to pull the grass up hoping you've got the entire root is an exercise in futility. The only lawn weed I know of that responds to that kind of treatment is a dandelion, and Cornerstone will kill it equally effectively.

I know I'm going to get a lot of flak on this recommendation, but like W.C. Fields once said, "Sometimes you have to grab the bull by the tail and face the situation." If you have a lot of grass and it's tall enough, get a fine-bristled broom, dip it in the Cornerstone, and drag it across the tops of the grass. As an experiment, dab a little bit of Cornerstone on a corner of your thyme and see if it kills it. Thyme belongs to the mint family, and some mints are really tough. Dick in Oregon.

P.S. Don't use any herbicide with 2-4 D in it. People use a light solution of it to kill broadleaves in a grass lawn because it won't kill the grass. But I don't know if the reverse is true for Cornerstone/Roundup, i.e. whether you can spray a light solution (tablespoon per gallon) over a lawn filled with thyme and grass and expect only the grass to die. I think I'm going to find out this coming spring.

May 01, 2017
So sorry!
by: Jacki

Hi Arlene, it's sad when your accomplishments don't fulfill the promise! If possible, stop watering the lawn, because grass needs more moisture than thyme. Thyme can take a lot of drought.

If the grass is seed grown, there's not a lot you can do about that except keep the area of grass closest to the thyme lawn mown so it doesn't set seed.

If it's growing into the edges of the thyme by stolons, that makes it more difficult to handle. Hand pulling is pretty much the only way to get rid of it, and it's an ongoing chore.

Depending on the type of grass, sometimes you can kill off one plant at a time by depriving it of light - stick a nursery pot upside down over it, and it will die off when it doesn't get enough light - this can take several seasons, and it looks very funny with the pots dotting the lawn.

I don't recommend using herbicides on thyme, because for one thing they haven't been tested on it, so there's no guarantee that you won't harm it as well as the weed, and well, who needs to be responsible for more poison in the world?

I feel your pain, Arlene, and wish you all the best with it.

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