Some grasses and weeds thrive in the heat. Crabgrass, for instance, is a warm-season annual grass that thrives in driveway and patio cracks. Its seeds are very tiny and can penetrate the smallest cracks. Quackgrass is even more diabolical because it is a perennial weed that can survive even if just small pieces of root remain beneath the slab. If the exposed portion of the grass is removed, a new shoot will pop up in no time at all.
The reality is that pavement weed control is an ongoing landscaping maintenance task for homeowners, but the work is easier if you have a variety of workable strategies to choose from.
In other words, the weeds and grasses that thrive in pavement cracks do so because they are genetically well adapted to the conditions created by concrete, brick, or asphalt paving. It will take repeated efforts using a variety of methods to control these invasive super plants.
Before Getting Started
Driveway and sidewalk cracks turn out to be surprisingly friendly places for weeds. These cracks can hold a considerable amount of soil and organic matter, a perfect bed for grass and weed seeds, which are often very tiny. And just below the surface of the paving there is often trapped moisture, and any plant that sends its roots down below the slab has access to it.
Grasses and weeds growing out of pavement cracks in sidewalks, driveways, and patios is a common annoyance. Sometimes it seems as though these unwanted plants grow even better in tiny pavement crevices than they do in the lawn and garden. This defies all logic since pavement surfaces are brutally hot and dry places where you might think that nothing could survive. But not only do these tenacious grasses and weeds survive, they alsoseem to positively thrive in this no man’s land of blistering hot pavement.
When to Kill Pavement Weeds
Here are some common, effective ways to control the weeds and grasses that infiltrate the cracks in paved surfaces. If a recipe calls for salt, make sure to limit its use to hardscape areas only; do not allow the salt to run into lawns and gardens.
In cold weather, a dark-colored asphalt driveway absorbs sunlight and keeps the soil beneath warmer than the surrounding landscape. Some grasses and weeds can easily tolerate the salts in ice-melt products. Fescue, for instance, is a cool-season grass that is somewhat salt-tolerant and might have a good chance of surviving through the winter in a driveway. Sedge is a grass relative that tends to stay green in winter. And then there are the cold-happy weeds such as chickweed that seem to scoff at temperatures at which other plants would have long disappeared.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Environmentally friendly ways to control grass growing in pavement cracks
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.
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.