Often, weed invasion begins at the edges of rocky areas where rock or gravel has become dispersed and thin. Weeds and grasses have a much easier time getting a foothold in these thin areas. A solid border around your rocks keeps them contained. This prevents rocks from spreading and thinning, maintaining a deep rock layer that resists weeds.
Always check conditions before using a flame weeder. Although correct use of a flame weeder never sets fire to weeds, accidents can happen. Do not use a flame weeder during a drought or in regions where brush fires are common.
Install a Border
To wipe out weeds in rocks, use a strong weed spray that kills weeds down to the root permanently and prevents new weeds from growing. Because it’s unlikely that you want any plants growing up through your landscaping rocks, this is a great application for long-lasting weed killers.
Several popular “natural” methods are touted as solutions for killing weeds in rocks. Some of these methods are ineffective, while others can be more dangerous to your yard than herbicides. Be wary of the following weed killers.
A layer of water-permeable landscape fabric beneath rocks creates a physical barrier that prevents weeds from sprouting. If you are planning a new rock installation, lay landscape fabric on top of the soil. If your rocks are currently being plagued with weeds, move them to the side and lay landscape fabric before moving the rocks back to their original position.
Landscape fabric does not stop weeds from growing forever. Weed protection usually lasts a few years. Then organic material starts to build up between the rocks, weed seeds are carried in by the wind, and weeds grow again. Sometimes these new weeds can be hard to get rid of because their roots get tangled up in the fabric.
A black plastic sheet for garden cover under the landscaping rock is effective at reducing weeds. You can usually get a large sheet, so you can cover whatever ground you need to in one go, without having overlapping pieces, leaving spaces weeds might grow through.
Once you are ready to lay your landscaping rocks, you have a few options to put down under them to prevent weeds.
Firstly, carefully select the area to lay your landscaping rocks. Ideally, the area should already be weed-free. If it is not, and you need to lay the rock relatively quickly, you will need to dig the weeds out and remove the roots. Alternatively, you can spray the weeds with a non-selective herbicide. Do not spray your bushes as well, since the herbicide will kill them. You could put a large piece of cardboard between the spray area and the bushes, or cover them with plastic. Also, avoid spraying on windy days. Wear protective gloves and a face mask when spraying.
Landscape fabric generally comes in three types:
You can hide the cloth using a thin layer of mulch, such as stone or bark chips. Take care not to lay too much mulch. Mulch decomposes relatively quickly, which creates enriched soil lying on top of the landscape cloth. Weeds can grow in soil. As the mulch breaks down, it also creates a natural fertilizer for your ornamental plants – but the weed fabric underneath the mulch stops the nutrients from getting to your plants’ roots.
It is also easy to handle as it comes in a roll. When you lay the weed barrier fabric, overlap the pieces so weeds cannot grow through any gaps. To hold the fabric in place, cover it with rocks; alternatively, you can use landscape staples along the edge. Spread the staples the same distance apart for best results.
What To Do Before Laying
Even the best landscape fabric will break down after a few years, meaning weeds will grow again.
Spun – this is strong and durable and does not puncture or tear. It usually has circular or swirling patterns. You may need to cut holes in it to let plants grow and tree roots to spread. It is strong and can last for many years.