Kill weeds on driveways and between patio slabs with just water

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Strong industrial chemicals and homemade solutions using more ‘natural’ ingredients can still harm surrounding plants and the ecosystem when used to kill weeds. Several gardeners recommended using water instead; either boiling to “effectively scald” weeds, or in a pressure washer to dislodge roots.

An anonymous user posted an image of their back garden on Reddit. The photographed showed the area completely covered in patio slabs, with weeds and grass growing through every crack.

They asked what the “best solution for killing weeds” was, and how last summer, they spent hours using “a weeding tool to pull everything from between the slabs”, and then poured salt between the slabs.

Store-bought weed killer was also used by the gardener in an attempt to banish weeds, “but it didn’t seem to do anything” and the weeds grew back bigger and stronger than before.

The post gained hundreds of comments, with many revealed what products and hacks worked best for them at removing weeds.

Best solution for killing weeds? last summer I used a weeding tool to pull everything from between the slabs and then put salt between, I’ve also tried store bought weed killer but it didn’t seem to do anything.
by u/mdunn95 in gardening

One said: “For weeds in my patio area I boil water and pour it right on the plant. Usually will damage the seeds that haven’t sprouted yet as well.”

Another chimed: “I have success using boiling water. Make my morning cuppa, take the cup and the kettle outside and find my next victims…. very satisfying start to the day!”

A third, who also uses boiling water to remove weeds, explained: “I use boiled water as well as it does no lasting harm environmentally and I don’t have to worry about the bees in my yard getting effected accidentally. (Soap can harm them…).”

Someone else offered a litte more advice: “Same! Though I would cut them down with a weed whacker first, and then pour the boiling water. I found that after killing them with the boiling water they’re really hard to pull out so the shorter they are the easier it will be to deal with.”

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According to experts from Gardening Know How, boiling water “effectively scalds” weeds to the point they can’t grow back. However, be careful of other plants nearby, and only pour water on the weed they want to target.

Instead of using boiling water to kill weeds, one Reddit user suggested dislodging them and breaking the roots with a pressure washer when cleaning the patio slabs or driveway.

The pressure of the water will push the weeds out of the cracks and reduce the chances of them regrowing.

Another “chemical-free solution” was suggested on the forum: “You can cover the area for a few months with anything that blocks light or water or both.

“If you use black plastic, it will block light, water, and cook the plants to death and render the seeds infertile for next season.

“If you do it in the spring, most of the plants won’t be able to produce seeds in the first place. I have a family member who is a 100 percent organic vegetable farmer, and that is how they do widespread weed control.”

A more environmentally-friendly product to use to cover the weeds instead of black plastic would be cardboard – this is used for the ‘no-dig’ approach to breaking down weeds. But understanably, this can look unslightly for a few weeks until the weeds die down.

One gardener suggested working with nature, and removing the weeds, only to plant creeping thyme between the cracks.

They explained: “You would get a fragrant carpet of groundcover spilling out from the cracks instead of dandelions.”

Someone else said “corsican mint is great for cracks” as it’s “very flat and smells great when you step on it”.

Another plant you could consider growing between patio slabs is “blue star creeper” as it produces “pretty blue flowers and fills in fast”.

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