Last Updated on 05/09/2023 by Barney
If your looking looking for the answer how to stop weeds growing in gravel I am afraid I have bad news.
There is no real effective way to permanently stop weeds in gravel but there are many ways to deal with them when they appear.
In this blog post, I discuss how to prevent weeds in the first place and then the common garden tools that can be used to deal with gravel weeds .
Maintaining a clean and weed-free driveway is essential for both aesthetic appeal and functionality. By following the strategies and tips discussed, you can reclaim your gravel driveway from pesky weeds and enjoy a pristine and inviting weed free entrance to your home or path through the garden.
Preventing Weeds in Gravel Driveways
It’s goes down to the old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’.
Over time, organic matter builds up in the base of the gravel. This provides the perfect growing medium for weed seeds (and plants) to take root and grow.
It’s just a fact of life, you will get weeds growing in gravel and whilst there is much that can be done to remove them there are some basic maintenance routines to prevent future weed growth.
- Clear fallen leaves promptly with a rake or leaf blower
- Protect gravel from getting contaminated with soil and compost if planting beds nearby
- Keep your gravel topped up
- Deal with weeds at first sight to prevent them from setting seed.
- Avoid spreading grass clippings.
- Keep plant borders clear of weeds.
- Sprinkling rock salt over affected areas
- Regular raking with a tine rake
I see many ill-informed authors claiming that putting weed barrier or landscape fabric or other similar product under gravel will prevent weeds. It doesn’t!
Best Methods for Removing weeds
Removing by Hand
If, like myself you prefer not to use a weed killer then having the right hand tools will make life much easier when dealing with weeds in gravel driveways.
With Regular use, one of my listed garden tools below will help with weed control and go someway to prevent weeds from taking root.
Best Hand Tools for Weeding Gravel.
If you choose to go the non-chemical approach then there are tools that get rid of weeds, all without getting on your hands & knees.
The Dutch hoe is an effective gardening tool with a long handle and a flat, sharp angled blade for slicing through weeds at their roots in gravel.
To use it, you position the blade just under the gravel surface and move the hoe back and forth. The sharp blade cuts through the weeds just below the surface, severing their roots.
As you continue, the hoe uproots the weeds, making them easy to remove. The Dutch hoe is great for gravel because it targets weeds while minimizing disruption to the gravel.
With proper technique and regular maintenance, the Dutch hoe and a rake to tidy up the severed weeds could be the only tools needed for weed-free gravel area.
The Dutch hoe is especially useful when dealing with annual weeds in gravel.
Running off 240v an electric weed burner is a handheld tool that uses heat to eliminate weeds. It features an electric heating element that quickly heats up to high temperatures, damaging the weeds’ cellular structure and causing them to die.
These are an eco-friendly alternative to butane powered burners and being electric chemicals are not needed
They work best on young, small weeds and also effective for weed control in pavement cracks and other areas which are difficult to manually weed with hand tools.
Powered by a butane gas cannister flames weeders are similar to the electric burners but instead of the high heat produced by an electric element the gas cannister produces an open flame.
Especially useful when covering a large gravel drive away from the house. Being cable free they are more versatile allowing use without trailing extension leads.
As with electric burners they are best suited to young, small weeds in gravel.
Metal Tine Rake
A tine rake is especially useful for shallow surface weeds growing in gravel.
Occasionally a tine rake is all that is needed. A couple of passes over with the rake most annual weeds will have been dislodged from the gravel.
A tine rake is also an essential tool for keeping gravel level & cleared of debris so which-ever method chosen to kill weeds a tine rake should be in your tool collection.
Using Chemical Weed killers on Gravel
A non selective chemical weed killer is the best type to use on gravel driveways and paths.
The chemical compound glyphosate found in weed killer will kill any plant material it comes into contact with so be mindful if spraying around borders & plant pots.
Always follow the safety instructions given when using a weed killer. Wear appropriate protective clothing such as gloves, eye protection and long sleeves.
Natural Remedies: Using Homemade Weedkillers to kill gravel weeds naturally
I have never found the DIY homemade weedkillers to be that effective on tough perennial and grassy weeds but as most weeds in gravel are annuals a homemade solution could prove to be an effective solution.
For those preferring environmentally-friendly options, there are several natural remedies and DIY weed killers you could try .
When sprayed directly onto weeds the acetic acid in Lemon juice works at killing weeds by drying out the foliage.
Simply squeeze the juice from lemons and add to spray bottle.
You can probably tell by now you might need a lot of lemons to cover a gravel driveway so perhaps this natural method is more suited to the odd pesky weed growing between paving slabs than for covering large areas.
Use approx 200g of cheap table salt per litre of water and apply directly on the weeds and gravel.
For this method to be successful there will need to be a period of a couple days without rain.
Results should be seen within 10 days.
Baking soda & vinegar combo
Vinegar works fine as a standalone organic weed killer but when mixed with baking soda provides a lethal concoction.
The acetic acid in vinegar and the high content of salts in baking soda provides a lethal concoction for getting rid of unwanted weeds.
For best results mix 1 part baking soda to 2 parts vinegar and apply with a hand sprayer to the foliage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will bleach kill weeds
Bleach will kill annual weeds but is less effective on perennial and woody weeds without many applications.
Bleach works by penetrating the root system of existing weeds and killing them off.
If you have a deep gravel driveway you might find it is not so effective as the roots might be far down. You’ll need a lot of bleach!
Q.What Type of Salt is Best for Keeping Weeds Away?
Rock salt is the best type when using salt as a preventive measure to keep pesky weeds from growing.
Bear in mind you will need many kg’s to cover an entire driveway for it to be effective.
Q. Does a weed membrane work under gravel driveway?
A weed membrane will do nothing to stop weeds from growing under gravel as organic matter will simply build up on it.
However, heavy duty weed membranes, landscape fabric & geotextile are used in the construction of gravel driveway to separate the compacted sub-base material from the underlying soil beneath.
It A Wrap From Me
In the epic battle against weeds in your gravel domain, you have an array of tools and methods at your disposal.
Whether you opt for the mighty hoe, the blazing flame weeder, or the magical weed killer potion, the choice is yours to keep your gravel weed free.
Embrace the adventure of maintaining a weed free gravel paradise and remember, the ultimate victory lies in your hands.
May your gravel pathways be forever clear, and may your weed free realm bring joy and delight to all who tread upon it. Happy weeding!