Here in Florida, if you pull weeds out of your driveway, by the time you make it in to your house, they’re already growing back.
Most people look at a driveway with a bunch of weeds and think it’s been neglected.
That’s not really true.
Many of us put in the effort to get rid of weeds in our driveways, but still struggle keeping those pesky plants at bay.
In this article, I’m going to share my tips on how to get rid of weeds in your driveway, and how to prevent them from growing back.
Why Are Weeds So Hard to Get Rid of?
Before we look at how to get rid of those weeds for good, let’s take a look at why they are so hard to eliminate in the first place.
Typically, weeds are classified into two categories, based on their life cycle: perennial and annual weeds.
These weeds have a life cycle of two years or longer and are the most challenging to eliminate due to their large and strong roots.
They have sturdy root systems, which allow them to re-grow from the same root structure year after year. So, if you pull an entire perennial weed, including its roots, it will grow back again even from the smallest piece of root you leave behind.
Examples of perennial weeds include dandelions, horsetails, knotweeds, thistles, and quackgrass.
Annual weeds have a life cycle of one year, meaning that they will grow for a year and then die.
These weeds mainly spread through seed dispersal, so they produce a lot of them that can later germinate and grow into more plants. Their seeds easily attach themselves to things such as pet fur, clothes, and car tires. This way, they get to spread out fast and wide.
Examples of annual weeds include; chickweed, pigweed, nettles, spurge, and so on.
How to Eliminate Weeds From Your Driveway
Here are ways you can get rid of weeds in your driveway permanently.
1. Use Vinegar
Vinegar has a reputation for effectively eliminating weeds in gardens and yards, and driveways are no exception. It works by sucking up water from the plants and the surrounding soil, resulting in wilting. Unlike commercial weed killers, vinegar is eco-friendly.
There are two types of vinegar whose effectiveness in killing weeds is based on their acidity levels.
This is the normal vinegar you buy in your local grocery store. It has an acidity level of approximately 5%. Its low acid concentration makes it ideal for eradicating smaller and tender weeds. It also works perfectly on young weeds that haven’t matured yet.
Horticultural vinegar is much stronger than the regular store-bought one. It has an acidity level of about 20-30%, and it is very effective on stubborn and more mature weeds. You can use it by itself or dilute it with water.
How to make a vinegar solution to kill weeds.
But before we get to that, it is important to keep in mind that vinegar is acidic. This means that it can cause injuries if it gets into contact with your skin or eyes. So, it is advisable to wear gloves and goggles, especially when using horticultural vinegar.
- Pour 25 oz of household vinegar, or 10 oz of horticultural vinegar into 32 oz spray bottle.
- Add a cup of table salt to help dry out the weeds’ root system.
- Add an ounce of liquid dishwashing soap to help break down the protective coating on the weeds’ leaves.
- Fill with warm water and stir.
It is recommendable to spray the mixture on a sunny day as the high temperatures will aid in the desiccation effect of vinegar. Avoid applying it when your driveway is wet since the water will dilute it, making it less effective.
You may also need to spray the solution again after a few days since it may fail to reach the roots the first time. And the weeds might grow back.
2. Use a Saltwater Solution (Salt and Boiling Water)
Another effective way of getting rid of weeds in your driveway permanently is pouring saltwater on them. Salt kills weeds by disrupting their growth cycle once their roots absorb it. It also dehydrates them, causing wilting.
On the other hand, the heat from boiling water collapses the weeds’ cell and root structure, therefore killing them. What’s more, it also makes their seeds dormant, reducing the chances of germinating.
However, a saltwater solution isn’t effective enough to eliminate those pesky plants when used by itself. You can add vinegar and liquid dishwashing soap to boost its effectiveness.
Typically, salt takes approximately ten days to kill the weeds completely. So, it is best to spray the solution daily for about a week and keep increasing the amount of salt in the mixture for maximum effectiveness.
3. Commercial Herbicides
While DIY solutions are great in getting rid of weeds in your driveway, using a commercial herbicide might be a better option, especially if you are dealing with stubborn weeds. These herbicides are specifically formulated with components to destroy weeds almost immediately.
Herbicides are classified into a wide range of categories based on how they destroy weeds. This is quite an advantage as it allows you to choose one that suits your needs and preferences. Let’s take a look at a couple of these categories.
Selective Vs. Non-Selective Herbicides
Usually, there are two types of herbicides; selective ones designed to kill weeds only and non-selective ones formulated to kill any plant they come into contact with.
A non-selective herbicide is the ideal one in this case because you don’t have other valuable plants around that could be destroyed.
Method of Destruction
In this category, there are three types of herbicides. The first class are those that destroy weeds by mimicking their natural growth hormones to cause uncontrollable cell growth that eventually breaks down the entire plant.
They also contain products that kill the enzymes the weeds need to build and maintain their cell walls.
The second class are herbicides that interfere with their photosynthesis process, therefore killing them. Then there’s the third class of commercial weed killers that disrupts the weeds’ ability to synthesize amino acids required to metabolize food energy needed for growth.
Before Germination Vs. After Germination
Here, herbicides are categorized into pre-emergent and post-emergent.
Pre-emergent weed killers destroy weeds before they germinate. They kill their seeds as soon as they break from their seed coat. Post-emergent herbicides are further classified into two categories; contact and systemic ones.
Contact herbicides only kill the weed parts they come into contact with, such as the leaves. On the other hand, systemic weed killers destroy the entire plant, including the roots. This type of herbicide is perfect for eliminating perennial weeds.
4. Use Hand Weeding Tools
Sometimes, digging up those unwanted plants, roots and all, is the perfect method of eliminating them from your driveway for good. But, before buying a weeding tool, ensure that it has a sturdy handle and a long narrow head, enabling you to dig up the entire weed, including its roots.
It is also advisable to choose a hand weeding tool with a sharp or serrated edge that will allow you to dig into hard soil in the driveway. Fortunately, there are tons of high-quality hand weeding tools, such as the GREBSTK Crack Weeder Crevice Weeding Tool, that can help you do an excellent job.
How to Prevent Weeds From Growing Back in Your Driveway
Getting rid of weeds in your driveway isn’t enough. It would be best to take preventive measures to stop them from growing back. Let’s take a look at ways to prevent these pesky plants from re-growing in your driveway.
1. Seal Your Driveway (Including the Cracks)
This is hands-down the best way to stop weeds from growing back in your driveway.
Apart from being an eyesore, weeds may increase the size of the cracks on your driveway, causing more damage which can only be repaired by removing the slabs. To avoid such expenses, it is recommendable to seal these cracks.
Here is a comprehensive guide on how to do so.
Step One: Remove the Existing Weeds
Before sealing those extra spaces and cracks in your driveway, get rid of the existing weeds. You can dig them out, spray them with your preferred weed-killing solution, or with a herbicide.
Step Two: Pack the Spaces and Cracks With Sand
After removing the weeds, fill up the cracks and spaces with sand. This will prevent the sealant from settling deep into the cracks causing more damage.
Step Three: Fill Up the Cracks With a Sealant
Before purchasing a sealant, it is essential to select one that is suitable for the type of your driveway. Sealants are great for concrete, clay, or asphalt and will blend seamlessly with your driveway, giving you a long-lasting solution.
Once you have your sealant, pour it directly into the cracks and spaces. If possible, overfill them to ensure that they will be sealed completely even when the filler shrinks after drying. After that, try to flatten it for a smooth finish after it dries up.
Step Four: Allow the Sealant to Dry
After filling those spaces, allow the crack filler to dry for at least 48 hours. Then, check the sealed cracks for any holes and reapply the sealant if necessary.
2. Add Landscape Fabric Before Installing Pavers
Although some people disagree, a landscape fabric effectively prevents weeds from growing in your driveway.
What’s more, it creates a barrier between the soil and pavers, making your work easier if you plan to remodel your outdoor space. There are various types of landscape fabrics, allowing you to select one that suits the kind of driveway you have. Among them include:
- Woven landscape fabric made of polypropylene fibers and woven linen
- Non-woven landscape fabric made of polypropylene or polyester
- Spun fabric is a type of non-woven landscape material made of long polyester fibers that have been fused with heat
- Perforated landscape fabric constructed with a solid sheet with tiny holes
Non-woven landscape fabrics are considered the most suitable for driveways as they are not permeable. So, any weed that manages to sprout will suffocate.
3. Kill and Pull Weeds Before They Produce Seeds
Getting rid of weeds in your driveway before they seed prevents them from spreading, therefore stopping them from germinating and growing into more weeds.
It is advisable to pull them when the soil is moist or damp as it allows you to remove the entire plant, including the roots.
4. Periodically Sprinkle Table Salt
As we mentioned earlier, salt interferes with the weeds’ plant cells’ water balance, drying them out. You can sprinkle salt directly on those unwanted plants, but if there’s no moisture to dissolve it, then the salt may not work. That is why most people prefer mixing it with water and spraying it on the weeds.
5. Use Commercial Herbicides
Spraying commercial herbicides is also an excellent way to prevent weeds from re-growing. They are designed to kill them from different aspects. For example, pre-emergent weed killers destroy weed seeds before they germinate.