You can use gravel to restrict undesirable plant growth in various situations around your home and garden. However, some weeds can swiftly grow through rocks and pea gravel.
You can use weed killer, salt, or boiling water to get rid of weeds in gravel quickly, and all are effective solutions. Otherwise, if you are laying new gravel, you need to ensure landscape fabric before covering it with deep enough gravel to stop weeds from coming up.
While there are numerous ways you might not know the best, so here in our guide, you can learn what to put under rocks to prevent weeds from growing through.
By the end, no matter where you are applying gravel or already have gravel in place, you’ll be armed with enough information on how to stop weeds growing through pebbles of any size on your graveled area. (Find the Best Weed Killer For Flower Beds)
Does Vinegar Kill Weeds in Gravel?
Vinegar has been a successful weed killer. Like most commercial herbicides, it’s nonselective and doesn’t care if it kills weeds or your lawn. However, unlike commercial weed killers, vinegar is non-toxic to humans, pets, and the environment.
In other circumstances, the only genuine disadvantage of vinegar is that it has little residual impact, allowing new weeds to emerge quickly.
Sometimes, permanent elimination of tenacious weeds in gravel, between paving stones and paths, as well as gaps and fissures, is desirable.
To get rid of weeds permanently in these tough places, mix vinegar with regular table salt. Avoid pouring the salt solution on the soil, as the solution will ensure that nothing grows there again.
Higher, more expensive concentrations, such as 10% or 20%, will not be required. The weeds with the lower concentration may take two or three days longer to die, but they will perish.
Here’s the simple steps to kill weed with salt and vinegar.
- Fill a bucket halfway with white vinegar. This weed killer can be made with regular 5%
household white vinegar.
- Add 1 cup of table salt and mix with a long-handled spoon until the salt has dissolved.
- Add 1 tablespoon liquid dish washing soap as this will help the solution stick more effectively to the weeds.
- Fill a small spray bottle or garden sprayer with your weed killer.
- On a dry, sunny day, saturate the weeds with the solution.
- Spray all the surfaces of the whole plant thoroughly.
Any weeds growing in gravel that have been drenched in this solution will perish within a few days. For stubborn woody weeds, you may need repeat applications.
Alternative Ways to Kill Weeds in Gravel
Here are a few other ways you can deal with gravel weed plants around your home.
There are various effective weed killers for weeds growing through gravel. Glyphosate-based weed killers like Roundup and work well on gravel. Glyphosate kills the weed membrane and washes out of the soil. Any surrounding desired plants should be unaffected if not sprayed with such weed killers. (Read Weeds With Tiny White Flowers)
Deterrence is the best policy for a weed population in your gravel driveways. Apply a pre-emergent weed killer in spring or fall before using broadleaf weed killers such as 2,4-D or a pre/post-emergent like Atrazine.
Mix the correct amounts in a spray bottle and spray directly onto your grassy weeds to destroy the weed roots.
Salt can destroy weeds growing in gravel instead of using a chemical weed killer.
With your hands, sprinkle table salt over your area of gravel. Apply the salt liberally to troublesome weed patches or the entire gravel area for preventing weeds in the future.
Salt works by removing moisture from plants and soil by acting as a desiccant and will change the soil pH, so make sure you don’t wish to grow anything around your gravel driveways.
Another way is to mix 1 cup of salt into 3 cups of boiling water. Adding dish soap can help the solution stick to weeds.
Pour the salt water onto the gravel driveways area once the salt has dissolved.
It is also possible to spread salt on gravel or landscaping rock and then water in, so the salt works its way into the soil beneath the gravel to kill weeds growing through the rocks.
Salt is effective weed control for a gravel driveway, plants dry out in your gravel path, yet as it changes the structure of the soil, it will kill grass sprouts or other plant life in nearby areas. Remove weeds from your gravel pathways once they have dried and died.
You don’t want weeds to grow back under your gravel if you just got rid of them. Permeable landscape fabric that allows water into the soil but prevents weed seeds from taking root is one of the best anti-weed barriers.
If you have gravel in place, you can rake your gravel to the side and lay the new weed fabric in sections, or remove your gravel, lay your fabric, and replace it. This builds a weed barrier to prevent all the weeds from germinating and growing through your gravel.
You can also use dark plastic sheeting instead of garden fabric to stop weed growth but be sure to poke holes for drainage in your gravel driveways when lawn watering.
Top Off Gravel
Gravel, and crushed stone, will work far better to prevent weed growth when a layer is 3-5 inches thick. Seeds can easily penetrate the soil and take root if the layer is any thinner.
For effective weed control, top off your gravel covering with more gravel if it has thinned through light traffic or vehicle compaction.
Prepare Soil Beneath Gravel
Whether you’re trying to rehabilitate a weedy pebbled area or laying new gravel, going the additional mile may be a good idea. Follow these steps to keep weeds from springing through your gravel:
- Remove any existing gravel from the area.
- Hand weed the exposed soil using your preferred method.
- Apply a 3-inch layer of sand or protective mulch.
- Lay landscape fabric.
- Apply 3–5 inches thick layer of gravel
With organic mulch or sand as your second layer of weed prevention, you should have a lot more protection against weeds. Mulch should work to prevent weeds or other plants from taking root even if your landscaping fabric is perforated by vehicle traffic.
Replace the Gravel
If you’re having trouble with weeds on your gravel driveway and nothing appears to be working, consider replacing it with asphalt or concrete. Just make sure the driveway is adequately prepared to avoid weeds sending roots under the asphalt driveway.
If the space allows, you might also consider putting in a paver or brick patio. Sealing pavers around your grass areas act as basic types of weed barrier, preventing more weeds from growing to the surface. (Learn How Long After Weed And Feed Can I Plant Grass Seed)
Weeds can detract from the beauty of a lovely gravel area. Using the above, you can see how you can use a glyphosate-based weed killer to get rid of existing weeds in gravel. Salt, boiling water, or flame weeders are all-natural alternatives to these chemical weed killers.
Prepare the ground beneath the gravel with a weed barrier fabric to prevent weeds from invading.
You can choose from any effective and long-lasting weed control options for gravel so that you can keep your gravel weed-free for years.