First, a word of warning: These common kitchen ingredients aren’t toxic in small doses, but they’re not benign, either. “Several can be harmful to people/pets during mixing and application, owing to inhalation, skin or eye contact, or spray mist. Some have unpleasant smells or have an allergenic effect,” writes Deborah Smith-Fiola and Stanton Gill for the University of Maryland Extension. Some hazards are obvious: Boiling water can burn you if you are not careful with it. Others aren’t as obvious. Don’t take chances and handle all of them carefully.
The setup also gives grass and weeds a little protection from you. It’s tough to get to the grass roots, or taproots of the weeds when all you can do is try to pull the unwanted plants by their tops. And you’re not likely to mulch those areas, as you would your flower beds, to prevent a return. But you can find everything you need to get to the root of the problem, in your kitchen — without turning to chemical herbicides sold at the garden center.
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Details and cautions
Let’s start with why grass and weeds are attracted to sidewalk cracks. The cracks and crevices look small, but the spaces between pavers hold an amazing amount of dirt and organic matter. This matter gets swept by wind and rain and snow. Those crevices also hold onto moisture a little longer than flat surfaces, so it’s a perfect incubator for the weed seeds or grass.
The pros of homemade weed killers are that yes, they do provide some level of weed control, without the environmental or health risks that toxic chemicals can leave behind. That’s more peace of mind for parents, pet owners, and for people who care about the environment. It also gives you more control over your weed problem, killing those stubborn grasses and new weeds that seem to pop up all too often in the driveway cracks and crevices of your hardscaping. If you apply natural weed killer enough and at the right time, you may finally be free of those pesky plants that ruin the look of your yard.
6 DIY methods to get rid of weeds and grass in driveway cracks
Maybe you got a nasty notice from the homeowners association. Or maybe you spent the weekend weeding, only to come home and find grass or dandelions poking up between your pavers or the cracks of your sidewalk. They’re unsightly and can cause serious damage to your walkway.
Before you reach for the spray bottle of Roundup or some other toxic weed killer containing glyphosate, take a look in your kitchen. You may already have all the ingredients to kill weeds and grass in driveway cracks. Homemade solutions are both cheap and eco-friendly.
Weeds growing in pavement cracks may require a secondary application of even chemical formulas. Read and follow the directions on the product carefully, as many of these chemicals are dangerous to humans, animals, and invertebrates, as well as non-selected plants.
The methods on how to treat weeds in cracks include futile pulling and much more effective pavement weed killers in the form of chemical and natural formulas.
Any home or property owner knows the battle. Weeds growing in pavement cracks are an all too common problem and create a constant war with these unwanted plants. You can spray all you want, but the pests will be back next season and spring out of holes and fissures. Weed control on the pavement is a necessary exercise but also an ongoing struggle to gain power over these hardy and adaptive plants.
The use of herbicide is one of the best ways to kill the roots of weeds in the pavement. There are several formulas to purchase that target different types of weeds. Brush and berry plants require the strongest formula available, but be cautious, as these are not necessarily selective and any nearby plants can be affected by drifting spray.
How to Treat Weeds in Cracks Naturally
Cracks and crevasses in the pavement are comfortable and sneaky hiding places for weed seeds. Weeds in the pavement are advantageous and use these convenient locations to secrete their seeds until growing conditions are optimal. Breezes and other movements funnel seeds into holes in the pavement where they are protected from further eviction.
Even normally desired plants, such as rhubarb and some berries, will slide along into the splits in the pavement, using such chinks as natural growing areas. Yarrow, pigweed, gumweed, and flowering prickly lettuce are other weed species that thrive in the gaps of pavement.
Weeds with deep taproots, such as dandelions, are not as easily removed with vinegar, as the roots can reach nutrients deep down in the soil. Consistent pulling may also have an effect on some weed species but if you can’t get the entire root, many varieties will simply sprout anew.
Types of Weeds in Pavement
Weed control on pavement cracks that are slim is the most difficult of all because pulling generally leaves behind the roots.
Concentrated vinegar is one of the best methods you can use if you wish to avoid chemicals. Highly concentrated horticultural vinegar will work on many broadleaf species. Household vinegar is not strong enough to do more than kill the leaves, which will over time reduce the vitality of the plant but must be applied several times to keep the leaves from forming and producing plant sugars.