CO-Horts Blog

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Be Gone, Grass (in landscape beds)!

 Posted by: Alison O'Connor, Larimer County Extension

Do you battle grass creeping into your landscape beds? Me too. And it isn't fun dealing with it. I've tried all the recommendations--pulling, mowing, digging, and herbicides. Now, before you label me as a "spray head", I'm not. I pull a lot of weeds in my landscape, mostly because I find it therapeutic. I love listening to music, filling up a bucket of weeds, and appreciating my landscape on a micro-level. However, I also have my limits, and trying to dig out bluegrass around my delicate plants isn't fun.

Kentucky bluegrass creeping in my Heuchera (coral bells).

Fortunately, the herbicides available for this problem are extremely effective and readily available. If you choose not to use herbicides, then keep on keepin' on with pulling, digging, and using mulch. These efforts can be successful, but persistence is key. Do it regularly.

If you want to consider herbicides, then look for products that contain either fluazifop or sethoxydim. There's a third, clethodim, but it tends to be more expensive. These herbicides are sold in products like Ortho Grass B Gon, Fertilome Over the Top II, Bonide Grass Beater, Monterey Grass Getter, etc.  

One of many options you can use to selectively remove grass from landscape beds.
This is not an endorsement of any particular product.

[Side note: I absolutely LOVE saying "fluazifop" and find it to be the most fun chemical name to use in everyday conversation. Flew-as-uh-fop. Fabulous.]

These are selective herbicides, meaning they will remove grass selectively from other plants. Namely, they will kill grasses, but leave your broadleaf plants unharmed. But they can injure/kill other grasses (ornamental grasses), iris, and other monocots. So read the label and use carefully.

But they do work! And usually in one application.

Use of fluazifop in my front landscape bed on bluegrass;
nearby plants included sedum and spring bulbs.

Don't worry, sedum, help is on the way!

Hang tight, little sedum, you'll be free from that bluegrass soon.


  1. Are these products safe to use in a mulched tree ring surround? Sounds like they probably are.

    1. Hi Kyle,
      Yes, they are safe/legal to use in tree rings to keep them clean!

  2. Since my dog likes to eat grass, do I need to worry about using these types of products?

    1. Hi Plant Lady,
      If your dog is part bovine, I wouldn't use these products. Or if you want to try, cut back the grass to a shorter height and then spray it. From my experience, dogs seem to like to eat the tall grass. But I have beagles, so....

  3. Ah Alison it truly is a great product, I having been using it for years. If you have plants close to the edge use care as the spray can drift and leave a brown patch on your lawn.

  4. Good point, Dad! (That's my dad!) Yes, be careful about your spray pattern.

  5. Boy Alison, is this post ever timely! I have some really aggressive Smooth Brome in one of my flower beds. I had planned to wait until my Husker Red Penstemon bloomed and then dig it up, pick out the grass and then divide and replant. I just bought some Hi-Yield Grass Killer concentrate (Sethoxydim) and am about to mix up a gallon and see how it works. A surfactant is advised. Will adding Dawn dish detergent do the job or do I need to buy a horticultural surfactant? I love reading your contributions to this blog. Thanks.