I have been working on my garden and had to remove trees, bushes, and the old lawn. I am starting to see new shoots coming through the soil. What weed killer do I need before I lay a new lawn?

  • Depends what's growing - what part of the world are you in?
    – Bamboo
    May 30, 2017 at 20:52
  • 1
    Nothing. By laying sod, that sod will inhibit weed seeds from germinating. Soil is full of weed seed. Any glyphosate or weed killer will affect your sod from becoming rooted and vigorous. Not to mention any seed you would like to plant. We have great question answers about lawn on this site. Doing the correct install for sod will save you many headaches later! Proper management means no weed problems!
    – stormy
    May 30, 2017 at 21:14
  • My plan was to spray weed killer over the soil at the moment, I have some creeping vines coming through maybe some Rhododenron that I really want dead. Then I aim to add a new top layer of good soil, cultivate then lay the new turf. May 31, 2017 at 10:05

1 Answer 1


I don't know what part of the world you're in, so can't know what products are available to you where you are, but in some countries, you can buy what's known as a pre-emergent herbicide, and more information about herbicides generally is here https://www.bayeradvanced.com/articles/understanding-weed-killers. However, pre emergent herbicides will not deal with a pre existing, woody plant and stop it growing again.

Weedkillers, unless they're heavy duty like Paradise, which kills everything for six months to a year and can't be used if you want to grow anything else in the area during that time, are not necessarily a one time application solution, it depends on what's growing and how long its been there. You have said you think you've got some rhododendron growing through - if that's the case, then there's nothing you can use that will kill that yet allow new turf to grow.

The usual advice prior to laying new turf is to remove all pernicious weeds, by the root, as part of preparation for turfing. Woody plants like rhododendron would fall into that category, and if you're anywhere in Europe, you won't find a pre emergent herbicide available for use by amateur gardeners either.

If the rhododendron has been there years, you need to extract what root you can, and if there is a large, woody root or two that you cannot remove, then you must treat with a brushwood killer. Again, not knowing where you are means particular products cannot be recommended.

  • Hi Thanks for your reply, I live on the south coast of England. May 31, 2017 at 10:32
  • I thought you might be, its the term 'lawn' that gave it away. SBK is a liquid brushkiller available in the UK, needs to be applied to holes or wells you've drilled into a woody root or stump, without spilling it anywhere else. If you can find a copy of The Lawn Expert by DG Hessayon (library might have one) that tells you exactly what to do...
    – Bamboo
    May 31, 2017 at 11:50
  • I went out in a rush, so didn't finish - that book is relatively cheap, but it doesn't tell you how to use brushwood killer, but does tell you how to prepare and lay a lawn and ongoing maintenance/problems
    – Bamboo
    May 31, 2017 at 14:05

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