How to Stop Grass From Growing in Concrete ?
Why weeds and grass are bad for your concrete
Nothing is worse than when you start to see those pesky weeds emerge through your beautiful new path, making their way up your driveway or taking over your sidewalk. In addition to creating an eye sore and ruining your perfectly curated aesthetics, they can also create worse, more sinister problems.
As those weeds start to protrude out of the sidewalk cracks in your pavement, they begin to erode the concrete. Gone untreated, these weeds will slowly widen the cracks to the point where you will be forced to repave. In order to prevent this eventuality, here is a look at why these weeds grow and the best ways to prevent them from doing so.
How does grass grow through concrete?
In order to know how to get rid of grass growing through concrete, it helps to fully understand how it grows there in the first place. For many, grass growing through concrete appears counterintuitive; surely the environment surrounding concrete is too hostile for anything to grow. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Realistically the cracks between pavements is a brilliant environment for grass and weed to grow. These cracks have an abundance of soil and nutrients within them, creating a perfect breeding ground. In addition, these cracks create a micro-environment as the moisture and warmth is retained more so than in any other area in your garden or on your pavement.
Tips to control grass growing in pavement cracks
Despite the bad news that it is actually very easy for weeds and grass to grow in your pavement’s cracks, not all hope is lost. There are a plethora of different things that you can do to minimize their presence. Here are some expert tips:
Best time of the year
Although you can choose to implement your grass control at any time of year, spring or autumn is the best time to do so. These are the times of the year where your grass and weeds are at their strongest point of growing, hence allowing the weed killer to be soaked up more quickly.
Prep the area
Before you start using your prepared method of weed/grass remover, make sure your area is properly prepared. Clear your driveway, path or sidewalk of anything that you do not want to be affected.
Use traditional weed killer
One of the options available to you to stop grass and weeds growing in the cracks of your pavement is traditional weedkiller. These solutions can be found in gardening stores and are easy to apply. However, they contain toxic chemicals so it is best to contact a company that specializes in lawn treatment.
Environmentally friendly ways to control grass growing in pavement cracks
Traditional weed killer is a popular option to control weed growth largely because it is the most well known option. However, it is filled with toxic chemicals which can not only cause harm to the surrounding environment, but can also damage clothing, and present health concerns. Thankfully, there are some environmentally friendly alternatives and natural weed killers that will do the job just fine.
Hot water is one of the cheapest and easiest options to help you stop weeds growing in your concrete. Simply pouring boiling water directly from your kettle or stove top into the cracks atop the weeds will slowly kill them. The weeds themselves cannot deal with the intense heat and so begin to die. It may take a few treatments for this method to be truly effective but if you stick with it, eventually the boiling water will kill the weeds from the root.
Another solution that you likely have sitting in your cupboard is vinegar. The acidic nature of vinegar makes it the perfect solution to keep grass and weeds under control. Simply mix a gallon of vinegar that has a 5% acetic acid concentration (white vinegar usually has this level of concentration) with a cup of table salt, a cup of lemon juice and two tablespoons of dish soap. Another tip is to mix all of these components in a spray bottle for easy application.
Using baking soda to remove weeds is a similarly easy way to remove weeds. This is a brilliant method if you have a cluster of weeds that are growing near desired plants as it can be an extremely localised method, or a broader far reaching method depending on your desired effect. If there are only a few specific weeds that you want to target, apply a teaspoon of baking soda directly onto those weeds. If you want to remove weeds from cracks in a pavement or driveway, sprinkle baking soda on the entirety of the surface and use a broom to push it into the cracks.
Pull them out
Pulling weeds out with your hands is a great option as it requires no equipment. Although you can invest in things that can help you with manual removal of weeds, your hands are really all the equipment you need. All you have to do with this method is pull up the weeds. The trick here is to try and pull the weeds out by the root to minimize the likelihood of them returning.
Things to be cautious of
Although there aren’t too many things that can go wrong when you are removing weeds on a small scale from your garden or pavement, there are still a few things that you should be aware of so that you are doing it in the safest way possible.
The main thing to be cautious about when removing weeds is that you do not affect any of the surrounding plants. If your weeds are surrounded by desired plants, ensure you use a localised method of removal. You can be more reckless with your application if the weeds cover a wide area or if they are only in-between concrete cracks as there is less risk of destroying the plants that you want to keep.
Toxic Weed Killer
It is important to be fully aware of what you are putting on your grass, plants or weed. It is therefore advised that if you are using store bought weed killer that you verify the ingredients and any cautions that may be present on the bottle. As a rule of thumb, it is advisable to limit all contact between the substance and your skin, hence gloves are a good solution to wear when administering it. Also ensure that once it has been applied, you leave it until it is completely dry before you return or try to touch the weeds.
How do I permanently get rid of weeds in my driveway ?
The best way to permanently get rid of weeds in your driveway is to lay your driveway with a material that creates a hostile environment for weed growth. A great example of this is a resin driveway as the process involves a deep dig to remove all existing weeds whilst also layering materials that block weed growth.
If you do not have the budget to completely redo your driveway, simply covering up the cracks will do. Once you have removed the weeds from the cracks simply fill them in with an appropriate material. There are an array of different options that you can use to seal the cracks, from concrete to sand, find the option that best suits you.
Hopefully this guide has helped show that weeds are nothing to be afraid of. Although they are annoying and can easily ruin a perfect lawn or driveway, there is a lot you can do to keep them under control or get them to disappear completely.
First you need to be willing to put in the prep work and analyze the best time of year to do this bit of gardening. Spring and autumn present the best opportunities for maximum removal, whilst also avoiding being out in the cold; gardening in the snow is not an enjoyable experience.
Also keep in mind there are plenty of solutions to kill weeds that can be found in your own home and are good for the environment. Although these methods are recommended, if you need to use traditional weed killer, be sure to be cautious when applying it.
Finally, to avoid any regrowth, try and cover up any cracks that are providing a breeding ground for weeds. If you can’t get around to sealing the cracks or can't afford to repave your driveway, make sure you keep on top of your gardening so you don’t give those pesky weeds the opportunity to grow back stronger.