Patio pavers bring a traditional elegance to the exterior hardscapes of any business or residence. Nothing will detract from the beauty of the pavers faster than the growth of weeds. When no weeds are present, simple preventative methods will help to keep them from growing. If weeds are already a problem, there are a number of methods that will eliminate the weeds. Discovering the best weed prevention and remedy for your paver area is easy when you understand what causes weeds in the first place and the pros and cons of each weed control method. A weed-free paver area is possible and goes a long way toward making a space inviting and enhancing the curb appeal of your home.
Prevention is one of the best methods of weed control. With a little regular maintenance, weeds can be avoided in the first place.
Most of the time, weeds to not sprout up from beneath the pavers. They actually start with seeds that settle between the cracks of the pavers on the surface. Seeds need to take root in order to grow. Sweeping your pavers regularly will disrupt the seeds prior to rooting, helping to inhibit weed growth. Sweeping also removes surface dirt and helps to enhance curb appeal by keeping your pavers looking clean.
Weeds thrive in cool, damp soil. When the deck or patio is properly sloped, water runs down the slope and doesn’t stay stagnant in the crevices between the pavers, helping to prevent the conditions weeds need to thrive. The slope of the paved area should always tilt away from the house.
An alternative to hand-pulling weeds is taking advantage of a mechanical removal solution. Crack scrapers are outfitted with L-shaped blades that pull a weed from the stem, removing the weed at the base of the stem. Normally, this method leaves behind the root, allowing for regrowth. As a result, mechanical removal is a way to temporarily restore the look of the deck or patio, but future mechanical removal sessions will be needed to remove regrowth.
Pulling weeds is a classic method of removal but it is only effective if the entire plant is removed, root and all. To do this, reach for the lowest point of the stem and carefully pull the weed. Any roots that don’t come with the plant will grow back. This often results in multiple hand-pulling sessions before the problem is remedied. Hands-on removal is possible at the onset of a weed problem, when only a few weeds are present, but it can become a very labor-intensive and less effective method when there is a severe weed problem.
Installing pavers results in spaces between the bricks or stones. The first step in preventing weeds is ensuring proper installation. A sand bed tightly packed provides a level foundation for the deck or patio. Once all the pavers are in place, additional sands should be packed into the crevices. This sand ensures each paver stays in place and helps prevent weed growth.
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When weeds are already present you have to go from prevention to finding effective remedies for the problem. There are a number of ways you can remove existing weeds from your paver area. A single weed-removal method may not be enough. It may be more effective to combine two or more of these strategies, depending on how severe the weed problem is. Once the problem has been rectified, go back to the prevention methods to keep them away.
Spray weeds until they are wet with a ready-to-use nonselective herbicide product, such as one with glyphosate. Do this two weeks before laying the pavers. Respray weeds that are still alive with the herbicide in one week. Discard the dead weeds.
Dig into the soil between the pavers and plant a groundcover that is hardy in your area and is tolerant of the sunlight conditions where the pavers are located. Plant individual plants as deep as the nursery containers, and at the closest recommended spacing for quick coverage. For example, blue star creeper (Isotoma fluviatilis) — which is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9 — makes an excellent groundcover for such purpose. In mild Mediterranean climates, you could also plant Bowles’ common periwinkle (Vinca minor “Bowles”) in USDA zones 4 to 9.
Getting rid of weeds can seem like a never-ending chore. They’re not just garden pests; they’re also an eyesore when they gather between the brick pavers that are usually so attractive. This is especially a problem if there are gaps between the pavers rather than those that are interlocking. To keep weeds at bay in those spaces, adopt one or more control techniques, some of which are put in place before laying the bricks.