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GLT's Grow: What To Consider If You’re Removing Sod

Grow co-host Mike McCurdy has removed about a third of his turf to plant a variety of native and non-native plants. He talks with ISU's Patrick Murphy in this episode about turf alternatives.

A great-looking lawn is nice to have. But it takes a lot of time, money, and effort to maintain.

On this week’s episode of GLT’s Grow, Mike McCurdy talks to Patrick Murphy from Illinois State University about alternatives to traditional green turf and what to consider if you want a little less lawn—or no lawn at all. They also cover the environmental benefits, including using less water and chemicals.

A few pointers from Murph to get you started:

  • Think it through before you start. Sod removal is labor intensive. And the soil debris you pull up can be hard to get rid of.
  • If you want to get rid of some grass for a vegetable garden or planting bed, mark the area with some spray paint or a garden hose. Cut the grass as short as possible with your mower, then cover it with some plastic or fabric. That’ll help block it from the sun and essentially cook it with heat till it’s dead.
  • One way to avoid having a bunch of leftover sod to get rid of is to flip it over in place. You can scalp the sod by hand (not easy) or rent a sod cutter. Then just flip it over and plant right through it.

“Turf is like a tyranny,” Murph says. “As a monoculture crop, it’s largely stylish.”
Listen to the full episode below:

GLT's Grow is your source for gardening advice and down-to-earth tips. Host Patrick Murphy and co-host Mike McCurdy are ready to take on all your gardening questions, so submit yours today.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.