Grass is a notoriously resilient plant. While we often see it in the form of a perfectly manicured lawn in the suburbs, it’s also a common sight in between old sidewalk cracks, in between pavers and pathways, and even popping up through pebbles and gravel.
If gravel and pebbles are evenly laid out, grass generally won’t be able to grow. However, as the ground is stepped on and driven over, it can expose parts of the dirt underneath. As grass seed easily travels through the air, it’s common to find small patches of grass in these exposed dirt areas.
In this guide, we’ll answer all of your burning questions about when the grass can grow through gravel, whether or not you need to remove grass before laying gravel, and how to kill grass for good when you notice it in your gravel driveway.
Do I Need to Remove Grass Before Laying Gravel?
Although you don’t necessarily need to remove grass before laying gravel down, it’s helpful in the long run. When you eliminate the grass in the desired area, you eliminate the possibility of grass growing through the gravel further down the road.
With that said, grass is notorious for cropping up in the weirdest of places. So, you may think you’ve removed all the grass in the area but there might be some seeds hidden that continue to grow through the gravel after it’s laid out.
How To Prevent Grass from Growing Through Gravel?
The best way to prevent grass from growing through your gravel is to pull it up completely before laying down the gravel. However, even this may not be enough. You may also choose to lay down some sort of herbicide or a natural grass killer, like vinegar, before laying down the gravel.
The important part is to make sure you kill off the grass and cover the surface evenly to prevent oxygen or sunlight from reaching the dirt below. When you cut off the oxygen and light supply, you cut off two of the most important aspects of growing for the grass.
How to Permanently Kill Grass in a Gravel Driveway?
The easiest way to permanently kill grass in a gravel driveway is to use an herbicide. However, it’s important to keep in mind that chemical herbicides are sterilants, which means they will kill anything green that it touches. Because of that, it’s best to do so on a sunny day where there isn’t much wind interference or inclement weather.
When using chemical herbicides, you should also make sure there aren’t any natural water sources or wooded areas nearby. Even a small amount of the herbicide making it into these areas can be detrimental to the ecosystem there. You should also be sure to wear protective gear like glasses and gloves before using chemicals.
Other, less dangerous, ways to kill off grass permanently are to use a natural grass killer, like vinegar, or to smother the grass with cardboard or another tool.
Will Grass Grow Through Pea Gravel?
Pea gravel itself is incredibly minuscule and won’t completely deter grass from growing through. However, laying down landscaping fabric prior to the pea gravel will cut the grass off from sunlight and oxygen, therefore preventing it from growing further. When laying pea gravel over the landscaping fabric, you should be sure to lay a 2-4 inch thick even spread.
Will Grass Grow Through Crushed Concrete?
Although the concrete is crushed into a sand-like texture, it’s too heavy for use in soil when growing a grass lawn. For that reason, grass will likely have a hard time growing through crushed concrete. However, it isn’t impossible for a few sprouts to make their way to the surface.
Will Grass Grow Through Crushed Limestone?
Grass can easily grow through crushed limestone. In many cases, crushed limestone is actually used as a base for sod lawns due to its ability to increase the pH level of the soil. Generally, crushed limestone is mixed in with topsoil before being distributed over the lawn area.
How Much Topsoil Should I Use Over Gravel to Grow Grass?
Many experts recommend laying down around six inches of topsoil on top of the gravel to grow grass on a lawn. Some also recommend laying down a thin layer of dirt or sand first and watering it down to hold the gravel in place.
Finding grass growing through gravel may be a blessing to some and a curse to others. While some people may choose to dig up all of their grass before laying a gravel driveway or garden bed, others may use gravel as a drainage base for their sod lawn.
Regardless of where you stand, we hope this article has been helpful for you and you can leave knowing what to do to either eradicate or grow grass through gravel.
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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.