How to Get Rid of a Lawn Full of Weeds

How to Get Rid of a Lawn Full of Weeds

Having a bright green beautiful lawn is something many people strive for, but weeds can quickly turn a beautiful green lawn into an uneven, ugly field. If you’re wondering how to get rid of a lawn full of weeds, I’ll cover your options in this article.

Trust and Accuracy Information

This article was last updated on by Lawn Chick Owner Sarah Jameson
Article content reviewed for accuracy by Horticulturist Arthur Davidson, A.S.

There are many ways to control weeds in order to keep your lawn looking nice and fresh.

Some methods involve stopping pests from feeding on your healthy grass, while others use fertilizer, natural techniques or chemicals to control weeds.

Learning how to identify which type of weed you will need to deal with, and what problem your lawn has is the first step to obliterating weeds from your lawn entirely. is reader supported. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Common Types of Lawn Weeds

Just to have a bit of background knowledge, it is good to be able to identify the three main weed types, Broadleaf, Grassy and Grass-type.

Broadleaf have big flat leaves that do not look like grass or needles.

One famous broadleaf weed would be a dandelion, but black medic is another broadleaf weed you may encounter as well.

Common Types of Lawn Weeds to Remove
Dandelions are one common type of lawn weed you may want to remove.

Grassy weeds can be deceiving because of their similar look to actual grass.

They grow in the same manner as grass as well.

Foxtails and crabgrass are two common types of grassy weeds.

Finally there are grass-like weeds which, again, are similar to real grass and grassy weeds as well.

The difference between grass-like and grassy weeds are that grass-like weeds can look more like a tube, and are not flat.

Wild onion and wild garlic are two well known grass-like weeds.

How to Get Rid of a Lawn Full of Weeds: Important Questions

Chemical or Natural Treatments?

The automatic choice for many people when trying to kill weeds is to grab some chemical lawn weed killer and pour it all over the lawn.

The bad part about this is that you are spraying chemicals in the ground, the water, and the air.

This is dangerous not only for the ground, but also for pets and people!

Eventually this can also create a weak environment for the lawn to thrive, and you may kill the grass you want in addition to killing the weeds you don’t want in your lawn.

The Impact of a Healthy Lawn

A healthy lawn begets a healthy lawn, and the more time you put into creating an environment in your yard where grass is able to thrive, the fewer problems you’ll have with lawn weeds.

A very thick well maintained lawn will leave no gaps in the canopy where weeds can take root.

When the grass is thick, it will take in all of the sunlight and nutrients, which will block the weeds from thriving.

If you are environmentally conscious and care about the health of yourself and pets, not using chemicals is usually the better option, but I’ll cover both choices here so you can make the best choice for your family and your lawn.

Lawn Weed Removal & Maintenance

How to Get Rid of Lawn Weeds
Proper maintenance of your lawn will save you a lot of time and money.

If your weed problem is either just getting started, or you recently cleared out all the weeds and have a few coming back, it is important to maintain the weeds as they first come up.

Keeping your lawn well-watered, properly fertilized, and at a proper length are all ways to keep weeds at bay.

Specifically for dandelions, it is important to keep an eye out and pull them out before they seed.

These weeds famously will show you they are in their seeding period when their yellow flower changes into 15,000 seeds in a pouf on top.

Make sure to pull the plant out by the root and remove all root pieces from the grown if possible.

Pro-Active Lawn Care & Maintenance

Lawn maintenance is an important part of getting rid of weeds.

Mowing your grass is something that many think is a good preventative measure of weeds, but it can actually allow the weeds to have somewhere to obtain sunlight and grow even more.

Mowing and allowing grass to grow 2-4 inches is a good general guideline.

Fertilizing is also important, but over-fertilization can be a lawn killer and weed promoter.

Fertilizing definitely depends “on your lawn type, as well as the length of your growing season”(

Most lawns shouldn’t need more than two applications of fertilizer each year.

Make sure to do research on your soil type and area that you live in.

Too much fertilizer will create a space for weeds to thrive, while not enough will not allow your lawn to grow strong enough to keep them out.

Natural Methods for Weed Removal in Your Lawn

Many people nowadays are looking to natural methods to cure weed issues rather than using chemicals.

There is a natural remedy made with vinegar, salt and regular dishwashing liquid.

Vinegar has been known to be a natural weed killer by killing the plant above ground.

It needs to be a strong vinegar, at least 10-20% acetic acid. Place this into a spray bottle.

Next, take any regular dishwashing liquid and place a few drops into the vinegar.

This acts as a way to break up the vinegar so it can be absorbed more easily.

This should be placed directly onto weeds in areas that you would like the soil to remain usable even after removing these weeds.

If there is an area in which you would like to kill everything no matter what the case, then take a slightly different approach.

You should take a gallon of the same vinegar, and place in 2 cups of table salt or any other type of salt that can be bought at any grocery store.

Mix extremely well and add about a teaspoon or a few drops of the same dishwashing liquid.

Either pour or spray this onto the area of weeds and plants you would like to kill, and you should never have any issues with weeds growing here ever again as the salt will essentially “sterilize” the soil.

Herbicides for Weed Removal in Lawns

If your entire lawn is completely overtaken with weeds and nothing has seemed to work in terms of pulling up weeds, fertilizing, keeping the grass at 2-4 inches, and watering properly, the final resort is herbicides.

Beware of roundup, as it is not only toxic to other plants, but extremely toxic for humans and pets.

According to, “Some herbicides work only within a certain temperature range; others work only when applied at a specific time of year.”

So always make sure to always follow the instructions carefully, and confirm that the grass you are growing can grow well utilizing that particular herbicide.

Excellent Video Demonstration of Mixing and Using the Herbicide Tenacity

Amazon Links to The Herbicides Mentioned in This Video:

Weed Killer Recipe in the Video:

Everyone wants to have a nice lawn.

Even though it might feel like we are watering, mowing and fertilizing properly, sometimes we have to take another look to see if we are doing it according to what type of soil, grass and environment our lawn lives in.

Weed problems can be exhausting and can feel extremely frustrating but with a bit of work, and a lot of love, weed issues will be a problem of the past.

If this article has helped you learn how to get rid of a lawn full of weeds (or if you still have questions) let me know by leaving a comment.

At Lawn Chick, I am committed to publishing accurate, useful, and trustworthy resources for my readers. As part of this commitment, I’ve invited subject matter experts to review our articles for accuracy. I invite you to read our editorial policy and publishing standards which outlines in detail how every article on this site is sourced, edited, fact-checked, and vetted.



Sarah Jameson’s blog, Lawn Chick, is read by over 2 million homeowners each year and she is regularly cited as an expert source of lawn care knowledge by major publications. Her goal is to meet you where you are, and help you achieve a yard you’ll be proud of. Ready to take the next step toward improving your lawn? Grab her free lawn care cheat-sheet: What to Do When - Take the Guesswork Out of Lawn Care, or upgrade your garage by browsing her favorite DIY lawn care products.

8 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of a Lawn Full of Weeds

  1. Ibnatu Hawwa

    Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for the wonderful tips for lawn care. My lawn is full of weeds and it’s become impossible to pull them all. I have some cedar trees in my lawn and blackcurrent plant. If I use vinegar, salt & dishwasher solution to kill the weeds, would it kill the existing plants/trees? If I want to plant veggies etc. how do I use the lawn for plants and vegetables after that treatment?

    I live in Toronto, Canada.

    I would really appreciate any help you can provide.

    • Hi, Ibnatu

      If you do a combination of hand-pulling and natural sprays (Vinegar, etc.) your current plants should be fine. Unless you’re spraying their leaves or directly at their root the treatment should stay really targeted to the weed you’re spraying. If you’re worried about valuable landscape plants, just hand-pull and then apply mulch around them to keep the weeds suppressed in those areas.

      A few deep rains will get any harmful or acidic sprays you’ve applied out of the soil and the soil should be great for grass and/or veggies shortly thereafter. If you ever go the chemical route I know in the US manufacturers are required to only cell herbicides/pesticides that are not in the ground 2 weeks after application. Canada probably has similar legislation, but I’d double-check on that.

      I know in my edible raised beds I keep everything organic and natural. The beds are built with rough-cut hemlock (untreated), and I use an organic 50-50 blend of farm loam and compost to fill them. I use and recommend Espoma’s organic fertilizers in my vegetable garden.

      Hope this is helpful!

      Hope this helps!

  2. Tricia Renee Ryan

    What is the impact for pets if you use the vinegar solution? Do they need to stay off the lawn for a certain amount of time?

    • Hey, Edward!

      Yes, Tenacity is my go-to herbicide for crabgrass that’s growing in your lawn. And once it’s dead make sure you follow that up and apply a pre-emergent herbicide for crabgrass every spring. It’s an annual weed and drops tons of seeds that linger for years, so you need to block the seed germination every year to keep it from coming back. Once your lawn has a head start and fills in most of the crabgrass seeds won’t get enough light to germinate, but if any does just hit it with the Tenacity recipe above and you’ll be in the clear.

      Good luck!

    • Hey, Nitin!

      Amazon is my go-to for stronger vinegar if you can’t find it locally. I’ve used a few different types and have a bottle of Calyptus 45% (Amazon link) in my garage right now. I like higher concentrations because I can dilute as needed for different applications.

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