The previous owner put down canvas weed deterrent underneath a few flower beds. We are now trying to turn these beds into grass to increase the size of the lawn.

Do I need to try to pull up all of the canvas? It is deeply embedded in the root systems of weeds and plants and starting to fall apart. I've taken up a few chunks, but it is difficult to get it to come up in one piece without tearing. If I leave the canvas in the ground, will the grass be able to come in? Will the canvas affect the quality of the grass when it does come in?

The canvas is buried between 4" and 8" under the soil (the depth varies).


If it is a pain to pull up, I'd simply leave it there. Canvas will break down over time. You mentioned that you've already got roots pushing through it. Plants are pretty resilient and will find a way.

You could slice it with a box knife or punch some holes in it if you like, that'd give the roots an easier time digging down. Lawn grasses can develop some deep roots over time. But I suspect the roots will just push down through it.

I don't think that the canvas will adversely affect the lawn grass. You've got 4-8" of soil above it, which is plenty of soil to get it initially established.

  • Punching / cutting holes in the canvas is a good suggestion. I ended up pulling up a lot of the canvas. It was a pain, but I was afraid the soil on top of the canvas would never really solidify if I didn't remove the canvas. It's impossible to get it all out and there's lots more down there. Thanks for the suggestions! – Josh G May 27 '13 at 14:31

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