Weeds are nothing less than a nightmare for homeowners. Is there anything more frustrating than weeds growing in the gravel driveway? A new gravel driveway is an expensive affair, and weeds growing in it is certainly the last thing anyone wants.
From woody weeds like dandelion or broadleaf to grassy weeds like purslane and henbit, there is a wide range of gravel weed species that can ruin your decorative gravel driveway. Well, you don’t have to really panic! There are some proven ways to kill weeds in your gravel driveway, and the best part is that these are easy and cost-effective options.
Let’s get into the details of how to prevent weeds from taking residence in your gravel driveway and pathways.
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Kill weeds in gravel driveway
Weeds growing through your driveway gravel can easily make an aesthetic gravel driveway appear ragged and untidy. However, you can reclaim your driveway from grassy and broadleaf weeds using the methods mentioned below.
1. Use a long-lasting weed killer
When I mention long-lasting weed killer, you would have easily guessed that it’s a chemical-laden weed killer. While you may be skeptical about using a chemical weed killer, remember that only this type of weed killer will stay in the soil for quite a long time, and prevent new weeds from sprouting. As it is a gravel driveway on which you’re going to spray the weed killer, you need not worry about the chemicals affecting other desirable plants or grass.
When you use a long-lasting weed killer to remove weeds from your gravel driveway, you enjoy two major benefits. One, this weed killer not only kills the weeds but also prevents new weeds from sprouting for nearly 12 months. Next, they won’t spread to other parts of your garden.
Furthermore, when you use a long-lasting herbicide, it tends to bond with the soil. In other words, rain and natural moisture will not spread it through your garden, killing plants and grass along the driveway.
2. Pull the weeds out by hand
Well, you don’t have to use a weed killer if it’s just a small patch of grassy weeds that have invaded your gravel driveway. The best thing you can do is wear a pair of gloves and pull those weeds out by hand. Remember that you don’t leave any roots behind. Of course, it is easier to just pull out whatever is poking out above the ground, but for effective weeding, you should pull out the entire plant with the roots.
To make it possible, first wet the ground, grab the weed from the lowest part visible, have a firm grip, and pull or wiggle the weed slowly until you can feel that it has loosened from the soil. This way, you can pull the roots up quite well. If the roots don’t snap off, don’t worry; get a trusted hand tool to dig that sucker out. This is how you can remove a small patch of weeds and prevent them from instantly growing back.
3. Use a DIY weed killer
There is nothing as easy as using a DIY weed killer to remove weeds from your gravel driveway. Besides, it’s a great environmentally-friendly option. Make a weed killer on your own by mixing vinegar and dish soap. The good news is that this solution will not damage your lawn.
To make it perfect, you just have to add an ounce of generic dish soap to 4 ½ liters of vinegar and then spray it over and around the weeds you want to remove. Repeat the process until all the weeds are covered.
Make sure you don’t try this method during the rainy season because the solution might get washed away in the rain or it can seep into nearby plants that are close to your gravel.
4. Install a landscape fabric
An incredible way to remove or suppress weeds in your gravel driveway is by creating a barrier of landscape fabric, which is sometimes referred to as a weed mat. It is a water-permeable fabric that allows drainage; however, as it is tightly woven, it does not allow weeds to sprout through it.
When you install this landscape fabric under the gravel, it prevents weeds from sprouting. The water-permeable landscape fabric serves as a physical barrier that allows for proper drainage as well as smothers weeds that seem to sprout at the soil level.
Make sure you don’t use plastic sheeting in place of landscape fabric. Plastic sheets not only cause flooding but trap standing water as well.
Aside from preventing weeds from sprouting in the soil underneath your gravel, landscape fabric has other benefits too. It serves as a barrier to keep the gravel from getting mixed with the soil under it. When dirt mixes with gravel, it encourages weed growth; so, a barrier between the soil and the gravel is crucial for weed control.
5. Sprinkle rock salt
If there is one great natural weed killer you can use for your gravel driveways, it is none other than rock salt! It is a good idea to sprinkle rock salt around any weeds you spot on the gravel. The salt will shrivel the weeds, and within a few days, it will kill them on sight. Having said that, one important point to note is that salt will ultimately seep into the ground and stop any weeds and plants from growing for some time. While it includes the weeds, it might include your desirable plants as well.
Of course, sprinkling rock salt on weeds is a great way to kill weeds, but make sure you’re conservative when you sprinkle by keeping them away from other grass and plants in your garden or along the driveway.
6. Use a weed burner
Weed burners are known to kill weeds efficiently. They burn the entire plant up to the roots, thereby completely destroying it. Moreover, they prevent them from regrowing.
A word of caution: If the gravel driveway has light-colored pebbles, using a weed burner may not be the most appropriate solution, because the stones of your graveled area get burnt and attain permanent marks, eventually ruining the appearance. Besides, you should be careful where exactly you’re aiming the burner. It’s because it could quickly and easily burn nearby plants, animals, or people! However, a weed burner is an amazing option if your gravel driveway is long.
7. Install a border
If you observe properly, you can see that a lot of the weeds in your gravel driveway have their origin in the grasses and weeds that sneak in from the edges of the driveway. Installing a wood, stone, or brick border along the gravel driveway is an excellent option to prevent this. By doing so, you can prevent many species from invading your gravel driveway by sending underground roots and runners toward it.
To stop encroaching weeds, you can add a border along your driveway. Choose a brick, stone, metal, or any desirable metal to create the border, and make sure the border is 3 to 5 inches tall. A 5-inch-tall border installed along your gravel driveway will not encourage weeds to invade the gravel from the edges. Above all, a well-made border will make your driveway appear more pristine and finished. Hence, adding a border is a great way to prevent weeds from spreading and growing through the pebbles.
How to prevent weeds from coming back in the gravel?
Let’s have a look at some preventative measures below:
Use a weed-proof membrane
You can lay a weed-proof membrane or a fabric foundation before you lay the gravel on your driveway. This prevents weeds from sprouting in your driveway and stops their roots from spreading into it. Besides being an economical option, you’ll save several hours of hard work by avoiding weeding and laying a good foundation to start with!
Have a good physical barrier between the gravel and other parts of the garden. Consider using a brick barrier between the soil and the gravel. In general, weeds start showing up at the edges of your gravel driveway where the soil has actually made its way from nearby planting beds. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to create a solid barrier, wide or tall based on the requirement, to prevent soil from creeping into the gravel.
Remove the weeds at the earliest
When you remove the weeds as soon as they show up, you’re preventing them from taking root and spreading their roots or laying down their seeds in the driveway. Of course, it sounds like a chore, but as you allow weeds to take root, you’ll soon have quite a lot of them in a short span of time, because they seed themselves and spread with alarming speed.
Walk on it less
Every time you walk on the gravel, a few hundred new weeds are added. Our footwear, pets, and the lawn furniture we use on the drive can carry the weed seeds and spread them all over. While you cannot completely avoid being on the gravel driveway, it’s still good to understand how weeds get multiplied so that we can work on it.
Regularly clean up debris
Make sure you rake up any leaves or grass clippings left over on the gravel and mix them with the compost heap. Don’t forget that any organic matter left for too long tends to decompose and provides a great breeding ground for weeds to quickly grow.
I’m sure you have a handful of great methods to kill weeds in your gravel driveway. Let’s do a recap of the important points:
- As soon as you see weeds sprouting up from your gravel driveway, remove them by hand.
- Start by using natural methods like sprinkling rock salt over the weeds or using a DIY weed killer such as a mix of vinegar and dish soap.
- Try installing landscape fabric to prevent weeds from sprouting.
- Consider using a weed burner or creating a border along the edges of your gravel driveway.
- If nothing works, try a long-term preventive measure of spraying a long-lasting weed killer over the weeds on the gravel.
- I hope you choose to use any one of these methods to effectively kill weeds growing in your gravel driveway and keep them from coming back.