Gravel driveways add a bit of rustic charm to your home. Gravel is a lot cheaper than block paving, cleaner than tarmac, good for drainage, looks better and more ECO friendly than imprinted concrete and also help with security. Burglars hate walking or driving over crunchy gravel.
But, gravel pathways and driveways that have light traffic or are neglected can quickly become overgrown with weeds and grass, so let's look at ways of getting rid of the weeds and then stopping weeds getting into gravel
I found the best and easiest way to kill weeds growing in gravel was to use weed killers containing Glyphosate. they kill the whole plant including the roots. It kills annual and deep-rooted perennial garden weeds, including grass, docks, nettles, willow herb, dandelion and bindweed in one application with no need to reapply. A single two Litre bottle treats up to 3332 sq/m. If you are clearing just a small area store it in your shed for next season.
It is also available in diluted form under various brand names. However, instead of using these expensive cans or sprays. I use undiluted glyphosate and dilute it myself with water for clearing weeds from driveways and other large areas. It is super concentrated and easy to apply with a watering-can
full application instructions and dilution rates come with it.
Always check Strength actually is 360g/l when buying concentrated Glyphosate weed-killer from other sources.
This is the Gallop product I use Click the Amazon picture for more information.
This trowel set is the ideal shape for removing long rooted weeds from gravel, It's also more comfortable to hold and work with than a standard trowel.
I especially recommend this trowel for people with less natural gripping strength, and for those with arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, see my article here about gardening with a disability.
Corkscrew weeder Takes the backache out of weeding gravel. Ideal for removing tap-rooted weeds growing through weed suppressant fabric, simply screw the steel spiral through the gravel into the ground and pull. lifetime guarantee
I have laid a lot of gravel driveways over the years. I know that weed barriers are not the answer to weed problems in gravel paths or driveways. Weed suppressant fabrics and plastic don't work for the long-term.
The only sure ways I know to keep gravel weed-free is to dig the weeds out by hand or to treat the area with Glyphosate weed killer. I have described both of the weed control methods I use in this article.
Raking your gravel driveway regularly. Pros; Rakes out surface weeds and moves the gravel around making it difficult for weed seeds to germinate so preventing weed from growing. Cons; Unfortunately raking also stirs up the dirt that has got into the gravel creating a seed bed for new airborne weeds.
Topping up the gravel by spreading a fresh load over the driveway every five or so years. Pros; Covers the bare patches and the weeds. Cons; As I discovered years ago, spreading more small stones over the top of dirty gravel produces the perfect environment for weed seeds to germinate and thrive, also makes it even more difficult to pull them out.
Treating weeds growing in gravel with vinegar. Pros; simply use ordinary full strength vinegar, white is best, although any vinegar will work. Vinegar is effective and will kill the weeds, but does not discriminate so be sure not to spray it on or near plants you wish to keep.
Cons; Because Vinegar is a disinfectant it kills beneficial bacteria in your soil sterilising the soil for up to two years, could be a problem if you want to plant in it any time soon.
Using salt to kill weeds. Pros; salt works as a weed killer when it dissolves into the soil around the plant roots. Cons; Salt kills plants indiscriminately and is very environmentally unfriendly as it stays in the soil for years, so if you must use it, only use salt where you don't want other plants to grow, such as gravel driveways. Using salt creates a problem if you or whoever takes the garden over in the future want to plant in it any time ever!
Alternatives to decorative gravel.
Imprinted concrete can be used to make weed-free driveways that is until cracks appear in the concrete! However, the finished driveway looks like plastic, is very slippery after rain and also produces daytime glare.
I personally think they look awful, real footballers wives stuff and are not permeable so will need a drainage solution.
Block paving is permeable, long lasting, looks good and if brushed occasionally and the silica sand kept topped up to fill the gaps between blocks. The driveway should stay weed free for years.