Paving expert condemns using salt or vinegar to remove weeds

There are so many cleaning and gardening hacks that claim to solve everyday problems. But gardeners wondering how to remove weeds from between their patio slabs should think twice before sprinkling salt for spraying white vinegar, a paving expert has said. 

Cass Heaphy, the Digital Director at Paving Direct told the most effective methods to remove weeds from paving. 

For block paving on a driveway, he recommended “pulling anything that will come up by hand”, and for any weeds that “cannot be easily pulled up”, use a weeding tool or scraper. 

He added: “You should be able to scrape between the blocks with this tool to dislodge the weeds. You can also use a hand-held burner to speed things up.” 

As for why you should avoid using salt or white vinegar, the expert explained: “Do not use salt to kill weeds as this can damage paving. 

“Not only can salt damage paving, but it can also harm soil health and prevent future growth if used on weeds in other areas of the garden.” 

The same goes for white vinegar which can kill plants if accidentally sprayed onto them when trying to kill weeds. 

Anyone looking for a cheap but effective solution should consider baking soda or boiling water. Baking soda is considered the “simplest and safest way to soften up and kill weeds”. 

“All you need to do with it is sprinkle it over your patio slabs and then sweep it into the gaps between your slabs. Once you’ve done this, simply pour some water down the gaps too,” Simply Paving explained. 

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“Not only does this kill the roots, but the combination of baking soda and water also means they’ll be easier to uproot too. 

“If you repeat this process every month or so, you’ll easily be able to stop grass or weeds growing between slabs.”

As for boiling water, the experts revealed it can “cause serious damage to any weed roots or seeds you missed with your gardening gloves”. 

Simply boil a kettle and carefully pour the content down the gaps of the paving slabs – always pour from a short height and directly onto the weeds themselves.

Pouring boiling water onto weeds can also make pulling them out easier. The soil and roots soften up and do not cling as stubbornly to the earth.

A pressure washer can also be used to remove weeds as the power can dislodge deep rooms. But to ensure the job’s done right, spend approximately 30 seconds on each area. 

The experts commented: “It’s worth noting that this approach should not be regularly administered. The pressure of the water can break down the mortar that keeps your pavers in place. 

“With this in mind, it’s advised that you make use of a pressure washer only once per season to flush out any particularly stubborn remnants of weeds.”

Therefore, when it comes to “persistent weeds”, Cass suggested “an organic herbicide”, and added: “Once this has been applied and weed growth has been stymied, we suggest re-pointing the paving blocks with kiln dried sand, as this will fill the voids and help prevent re-growth.” 

For patio slabs, a similar process can be followed, but when it comes to repointing, use an “epoxy-based jointing compound such as Pointfix” instead of kiln-dried sand. 

This is recommended for “concrete and stone patios, or an exterior tile grout for porcelain patios”, Cass clarified. 

Luckily, “both exterior grout and epoxy jointing compounds are water-resistant, so will help suppress and prevent the regrowth of weeds in the paving joints”. 

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