A well-kept gravel driveway sets the tone when you are entering the premises of a house. As you drive in, the sight of a neat driveway clearly increases your expectations. But, unwanted grass and weed growing on a gravel driveway is a very common problem faced by most property owners.
Are you worried about your driveway being overridden by grass when you are away on a vacation? Have you returned from a trip to find your driveway could do with some mowing as well, along with your garden?
The gaps between the gravel are the perfect spot for grass and weed to peep through and if a bird happens to drop pollens or seeds and they get lodged between the tiny stones, they can soon start taking root. During the monsoons, the gravel driveway needs constant monitoring as fresh grass always tend to crop up after a bout of rain. In this article, you will get to learn some ways on how to remove grass from gravel driveway.
Top 5 Methods Of Cleaning Weed From Gravel Driveway
Most people who have a driveway on their property have questions regarding how to stop weeds growing through pebbles. Grown weeds can be pulled out by hand but this is not an option if you have a long driveway. Getting rid of weeds is not as difficult as it seems and can be taken care of with some simple methods.
1. Torching The Weeds
Using a propane flame weeder, you could simply torch the weeds peeking through the gravel. This is very effective because the intense heat from the propane burns the grass to the root and if done properly, it could take longer than usual for the grass to come back.
However, using open flame is always a hazard, so you should only try this method if you are adept at using a propane flame hand burner. Make sure there are no inflammable materials lying close by and the children and pets are out of reach. While using a flame, move backward so as not to step on the hot gravel yourself.
What you will need: A propane- flame torch, protective eye gear, and heat resistant gloves
Method: Wear the gear and simply blow the torch over the weeds till they start withering. Be careful not to blow over large patches, which might catch fire.
2. Using Weed Suppressant Sheets
Special weed suppressant sheets can be used to form a barrier between the gravel and the soil underneath. However, these sheets are likely to get punctured with time as cars drive over them constantly. They are more likely to rupture if any heavy vehicle like a van or a pick-up truck drives over the gravel.
In such cases, the weeds and grass tend to peep through the ruptured points of the sheet and it is impossible to remove them without replacing the sheet altogether. For the best results, you should replace the sheet once every couple of years.
What you will need: Weed Suppressant sheets
Method: Remove the gravel from the spots, which are most prone to weeding and lay down the sheets. Restore the layer of gravel on top. The sheets will prevent the weeds from sprouting to the surface.
3. Using Plastic To Control Grass
One of the best ways to take care of weeds in gravel driveway maintenance is to use plastic sheets. These can be used as the weed suppressants stated above by allowing the plastic to form a barrier between the gravel and the soil beneath.
However, plastic is cheaper and if you have a long driveway, it will be easier on the pockets. A thick layer of black plastic can effectively cut off light and water from seeping through the gravel and control the growth of grass and weed.
What you will need: Black plastic sheets and scissors
Method: Remove the layer of gravel from the area, which is most prone to weeding. Cut out broad strips of plastic and lay it on top of the soil. Restore the pebbles. The plastic will prevent the weeds from sprouting to the surface.
4. Using Salt On Gravel Driveways
Another effective way to prevent the growth of weeds is to use salt gravel driveway weeds. This is preferred by those who have children or pets in the house and do not want chemicals in their driveway for fear of contaminating the little ones or pets.
Rock Salt is a great option or you could also use regular table salt. All you have to do is mix about a pound of salt in a gallon of water. Transfer the mixture to a watering can and wait for the salt to dissolve completely.
Then, slowly sprinkle this water over the driveway, taking care to allow the salted water to seep into the soil below. Be careful while doing this because it is also going to harm your beloved garden plants if the salted water comes in touch with them.
You will soon find the weeds and grass withering but it could take about a week to 10 days for the weeds to dry completely. Simply pull out the dead leaves by hand once they are dead. A mixture of white vinegar and water is also known to be effective.
What you will need: A pound of rock salt or common table salt, a gallon of water, and a water sprinkler.
Method: Mix the salt in water and wait for it to dissolve completely. Sprinkle on the driveway.
Note: The pound of salt can also be replaced with a liter of white vinegar.
5. Using Roundup On Gravel Driveway
RoundUp is a highly effective weed-killer and when used with precision, it can also be used to kill weeds on the flowerbeds or lawn. The product does have some chemicals as its major ingredients and yet once it comes into contact with the soil, the microorganisms are able to degrade RoundUp, making it safe for pets and children to return.
The weed-killer acts by drying up the sap within unwanted grass by attacking the leaves, roots, and stems. The grass starts withering and is decomposed naturally into the soil, while the larger ones can be pulled out.
It is important to look out for the weather forecast before applying RoundUp as a windy day can result in the product drifting while rain and snow can render the product ineffective by diluting it. Just in case it rains suddenly within two hours of application of the product, spray it again with RoundUp.
It is advisable to keep away any open flame while using the product or immediately after spraying it on the grass. Plus, you must not spray the product on drought-stressed plants or weeds. The best time to use RoundUp is when the leaves are green and fresh, which allows maximum absorption.
By using RoundUp on gravel driveway regularly, the soil could slowly become immune to weeds in a few years. RoundUp is known to be effective on almost all kinds of common weeds, like Pampas Grass, Bamboo, and Lantana.
Some types of grass can be quite sturdy and refuse to die out over time, making driveway maintenance difficult. In such cases, it is a good idea to use RoundUp twice a season, once before the weeding starts and once to eradicate it.
Method: Follow the instructions on the packet on how to use RoundUp. Do not forget to wear protective gear while using the product.
How To Fix A Gravel Driveway Overgrown With Grass?
While it is one thing to kill weeds and grass, it is quite another thing to fix a gravel driveway, which has already been somewhat damaged by weeds. One of the reasons why the impact of grass on a gravel driveway is limited is because the pebbles can be easily shifted around to cover up any area inflicted by weed infestation.
However, consistent shifting of gravel requires manpower and the abrasion might cause the smaller pebbles to disintegrate. If you want a gravel driveway without having to worry too much about weeds and grass, then you could have a layer of concrete and then cover it up with gravel.
Concrete is more resistant to wear and tear and it takes longer for weeds and grass to break through it. However, concrete may not provide the grip on the pebbles like soil would and it might be more prone to shifting around. Using a layer of sand can prevent this from happening.
In case there is a lot of weed peeking out through your gravel driveway, then you should hire someone to remove the layer of pebbles as much as possible. Spray the weed with RoundUp or use any of the above-mentioned methods to kill weeds.
Pull out big chunks of grass and allow the smaller grasses and weeds to decompose. After they have completely disintegrated, give the soil a turn to bury the weeds from the top layer. Spread a sheet of plastic or weed suppressant and restore the layer of gravel on top.
How To Keep Weeds From Growing In Gravel Driveway?
One of the reasons behind the rapid growth of grass and weed is a steady source of water. Try to use a kind of soil under the gravel, which retains less moisture. Make sure that your garden hose or a nearby faucet does not constantly supply water to the driveway.
Switch off the sprinkler when not in use and water from the surrounding soil will slowly seep into the soil underneath the gravel if there is excess water. Controlling the growth of weeds and grass will result in far fewer instances of driveway restoration.
To prevent weeds from growing in a gravel driveway, you can also treat the soil underneath the gravel with a weed-killer from time to time. Considering that you are not ever going to grow vegetation in that piece of land, you can use the weed-killer consistently till weeds can no longer grow in that soil.
Also, make sure that you have a thick layer of gravel on top as the grass will have a more difficult time trying to break through the heavier pebbles. Killing weeds and unwanted grass is not a very costly procedure but it does require time and effort.
You need to spend time grooming your driveway from time to time if you want long-lasting results. In due time, you will have a neat and clean driveway, which will be soothing on the eyes and easy to maintain.
Hopefully, you have found this article useful and if you have gravel driveway at your premises, the steps described above will help you keep the weed problem in check. Is there any other method you follow to get rid of weeds and overgrown grass from your driveway?
If yes, I would love to hear from you. You can leave your comments below. As someone who had grown up in an old country house with a traditional gravel driveway, I can very well understand what most users go through when they try to keep the weeds in check.
Gravel driveways are great to look at. In fact, they perfectly complement a traditional farmhouse with their quaintness and because they seem perfectly at sync with nature. But, considering how busy we are with our lives today, it is only practical to look for ways that will help us maintain our gravel driveway in a cost-effective manner and make it less time consuming or labor-intensive.
Sharing my methods of keeping the driveway free from unwanted grass and weeds has been a wonderful experience. Over the years, by adopting these methods for my driveway at my country house, I have been able to keep it tidy and the weeding season has never been a major problem for me. Please feel free to like and share this article if you find it useful.