how do you stop weeds from growing in rocks

How do you stop weeds from growing in rocks

If you don’t get all of the weed roots out of the ground, you’re likely to see more unwanted growth popping up. Additional weed-killing methods can keep the population under control so the rock area isn’t overrun with weeds. A weed flamer is one option that works well since the rocks can withstand the heat and aren’t flammable. A quick blast of heat from the flamer kills the weed. Keep the weed flamer away from any flammable materials, such as your house or wood mulch. Boiling water can have a similar effect on weeds. You can also use a premixed herbicide, such as glyphosate, directly on the weeds.

Despite your best prevention techniques, you may notice a few pesky weeds sneaking into your rocks. Pull the weeds as soon as you see them, but don’t leave the plucked plants in your rocks. If possible, move the rocks back from the weed so you can get its root out when you pull. A handheld weeding knife or other small weeding tool helps reach the weed roots between the rocks.

A weed-free patch of ground makes the best base for a rock-covered landscape area. Inspect the area before you place landscaping rocks to identify weed problems. You have several options for getting rid of existing weeds. If you aren’t in a rush to put down the rocks, cover the area with plastic and leave it for at least six weeks of hot, sunny weather. This sun solarization method kills the weeds underneath. Digging the weeds out to remove the full roots gets rid of many unwanted plants. Throw away the weeds and roots so they don’t grow again. You can also spray a premixed, post-emergent, non-selective herbicide onto the weeds.

Landscaping rock creates a low-maintenance ground cover that stays put, unlike lightweight mulch, which can blow away. The rock helps smother unwanted plant growth, but some stubborn weeds find a way to thrive. Weed prevention starts before you put the rocks down and continues with regular maintenance to stop a large-scale weed invasion.

Use Your Muscle

A layer of landscape fabric over the soil blocks the growth of any weeds that you miss when you prepare the site. Secure the fabric using landscape staples so it doesn’t shift under the rock layer. When you start with a new piece of fabric, overlap it with the last piece so you don’t give the weeds a gap to grow through. A border around your rocky area creates a barrier between the rocks and the lawn. Weeds from other areas of the landscape may eventually make their way into the rocky area if nothing is there to block them.

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.

Create a Barrier

How do you stop weeds from growing in rocks

There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

Even through rock mulch and gravel, weeds will somehow find a way to grow. Luckily for you, these can be handled like weeds in any other part of your garden. You can spray a chemical killer, pull them by hand, or use a variety of household materials to help keep your yard free of these plant pests.

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This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz and by wikiHow staff writer, Hunter Rising. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.

About This Article

If weeds are growing in and around your garden rocks, you should be able to easily kill them. If there are only a few weeds, pour boiling water over them or spray them with vinegar. For a larger infestation, use liquid herbicide. Do this on a dry day when there’s no rain scheduled so it doesn’t wash the herbicide away. Mix 10 milliliters of weed killer per liter of water into a spray bottle and cover the weeds with it. Alternatively, pull them out by hand. Water the weeds to loosen the roots. Then, a couple of days later, loosen the soil with a garden fork and pull the weeds out. For more tips from our Gardening co-author, including how to choose a weed killer for your specific weeds, read on!

How do you stop weeds from growing in rocks

Boiling water. That’s right, simply boil up some H20 and douse them. This may not be a permanent solution, but it’s easier than hoeing, and it is completely organic.

Flame throwers! Why not have some fun killing your weeds? You can buy a propane “flame weeder” for about $60 and burn up the weeds. Just be careful to stay away from any wood chips and your house!

Salt, vinegar, soap combo. If other options aren’t working, try a combination of 1 gallon white vinegar, 1 cup of table salt, and 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. The dishwashing liquid helps keep the mixture on the leaves long enough for it to work.

Salt. Table salt or saltwater will work on some weeds. The major disadvantage is that it’s hard to grow anything in salty soil, so if you or anyone else ever want to grow plants in the area in the future, this is not a good solution.

Hands and hoes. Sorry, but this may be your best bet if the weeds are growing in rocks next to other plants that you want to keep. Many people find that a Hula-Ho (also called a stirrup hoe or scuffle hoe) works better than a traditional flat hoe.