We spend a lot of money on gravel, which gives a naturally clean and neat look to our walking paths, gardens, and driveways. But what happens? We start to see annoying weeds growing and destroying the look of our gravel areas.
To stop weeds from growing in gravel, use the home recipe of iodized salt and acetic vinegar. First, you sprinkle a small amount of table salt over the weeds. Next, mix 1 cup of salt and half a gallon of vinegar together in a spray bottle. Spray the weeds directly, which will kill them in a few hours. This will damage soil and prevent growth in the area, so be careful where you are spraying.
It is possible to kill the weeds with minimal effort; all it takes is a few pointers. Eliminate weeds before applying gravel, it is the best way to maintain a neat and clean look. Chemical weed killers are also effective solutions when grass sprouts through the gravel.
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Why Do Weeds Grow In The Gravel?
Weeds can grow anywhere, and we see them everywhere. There are no exceptions from gravel driveways, walking paths, and gardens. Even the best weed control fabric can only delay production but will not stop it permanently.
Some simple causes make the weeds grow again. Weeds usually have roots in the soil; even after you uproot all the weeds, they can still grow again.
The weeds grow quickly in graveled areas with a poor-quality barrier sheet or are old and now have weak points. We can find holes throughout from wear and tear. Walking paths and gravel gardens with light traffic or a bit neglected are the most susceptible to weeds.
The Different Types Of Weeds Found In Gravel
Before attempting to get rid of the weed population in your gravel driveways, it is very important to know what type of weed you will be battling. Some herbicides are designed to work better with various weeds.
Here are the different types of weeds that grow in gravel:
- Annual bluegrass (Poa annua)
- Common chickweed (Stellaria media)
- Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
- Broadleaf plantain (Plantago major)
- Prostrate spurge (Euphorbia maculata)
- Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola)
- Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)
- Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
- Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)
- Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
- Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
- Carpetweed (Mollugo verticillata)
- Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus)
- Common mallow (Malva neglecta)
- Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)
6 Simple Methods To Stop Weeds Growing In The Gravel
Here are some affordable, easy to use and effective methods to stop weeds growing in Gravel driveways, walking paths and gravel gardens
Uprooting those weeds that are just about to bloom will help reduce the growth and spread. Before laying your gravel path or drive, make sure you have all the weeds removed. If there are weeds, they will regrow even through some thick gravel locations. If there are too many to uproot, you can always use a herbicide or a DIY solution, as I discuss below.
2. DIY Home Method
For this second method, you need
• iodized salt (table salt)
• 5-20% acetic acid vinegar (higher the percentage faster acting)
• Garden sprayer for applying
Sprinkle table salt over the gravel garden with your hands. Apply the salt liberally only to problem areas or to the entire walking path.
Salt is a desiccant to dry all the moisture from plants and soil, so the more evenly you apply the salt, the better it will work on the soil beneath the gravel. All the weeds (and anything else) will dry up and die, and the soil won’t be able to support any plant life for several years in your gravel area.
Then mix a cup of salt and 1/2 gallon of undiluted 20% acetic acid vinegar into a garden sprayer, then spray the area. Vinegar will make the plants dry out quickly. When applied to the soil, vinegar will lower the soil pH, which won’t help plant life, and its effects last long.
It is a good idea to spray this before you lay your gravel but it’s already past that time for most of us. Apply this 2 weeks in advance works, then re-spray if you find any new growth 1-3 days before the gravel is due to be laid.
If already laid, spray the gravel and any weed areas; this should kill off the weeds and prevent regrowth.
3. Thick Gravel Layer
It’s highly effective on gravel driveways to spread the gravel in a thick layer, making it challenging for weed growth. At least a 3 to 5-inch layer of gravel can prevent weeds from growing. Having a good quality landscaping fabric underneath the gravel is highly recommended too, as it will prevent weeds from coming up at all.
Adding fabric will also keep your gravel organized, making it harder for growth the come up through the tightly packed gravel layer.
4. Prevent Irrigation for the Weeds
Make sure that your lawn irrigation/watering isn’t running into the gravel driveways, walking paths, and gravel gardens. As we know, water facilitates weed growth, and you don’t want to give it any assistance.
Water slowly seeping into your gravel can fuel them to cause rapid growth and help them multiply, so be careful when you are watering your garden and lawn.
5. Keep Your Gravel Area Clean
Keeping your gravel area clean as it is crucial in preventing weeds from growing. Regularly removing debris, leaves, and organic matter can eliminate weed seeds that might have blown in or settled on the surface.
A clean gravel area also disrupts the habitat that weeds prefer to grow in. Maintaining a clean and tidy space allows you to detect and address any emerging weeds early on before they become a bigger problem.
With a clean surface, removing weeds or applying targeted herbicides is easier. By staying proactive, it’s easy to prevent weeds from taking over your gravel area and you can enjoy a more appealing and manageable garden space.
6. Apply a Herbicide
Herbicides are chemicals designed to kill all vegetation in the area you choose to use them on. That’s why it can be a great choice for gravel areas where you know you want no weeds, grass, or any plants growing.
Be aware that herbicides will kill grass if used to close!
Applying a herbicide on your gravel to kill weeds is a straightforward process. Start off by choosing a herbicide that is safe for your gravel and effective against the weeds you have. Wear some protective clothing and eye wear so you don’t hurt yourself, remove debris and large weeds from the area, and its important to check the weather for any rain.
Mix the herbicide according to the instructions on the label, apply it evenly over the gravel, focusing on the weed-infested areas. Keep an eye on the area for new weed growth and reapply as needed.
Soon enough, the weeds will no longer be alive, and you should not see any new growth coming in!
I recommend using Spectracide Weed & Grass Killer as it is designed for paths, using on gravel will kill all vegetation, meaning grass and weeds.
Weeds grow in gravel, there is no denying that. However, many ways in modern gardening can kill them off and prevent them from ruining your day.
Using a herbicide is a simple option, but I know some people want to steer clear of chemicals, so I have the DIY solution you can apply too.
Following the tips above will help you stay on top of the weeds growing in your gravel!
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.