To kill existing weeds in your gravel driveway and prevent new ones from sprouting, you should:
- Spray weeds with a weed killer that remains in the soil to kill future weeds.
- Install a layer of landscape fabric beneath your gravel.
- Uproot weeds by hand.
- Use a flame weeder to quickly kill weeds.
- Build a border along your driveway to keep creeping weeds out.
- Add more gravel to create a thicker weed barrier.
- Remove the existing gravel and either wash or replace it.
Below, we’ll cover exactly how to use each of these methods and why they work. With a combination of these tips, you’ll be able to wipe out invasive weed growth and keep your gravel driveway weed-free.
7 Ways to Prevent Weeds from Growing in Your Gravel Driveway
Weeds sprouting through your gravel are a nuisance. They can turn a beautiful gravel driveway into a space that looks ragged and overgrown. However, you can easily reclaim your driveway from broadleaf and grassy weeds. Here’s how:
Long-Lasting Weed Killer
Most chemical weed killers are designed to kill weeds quickly, then quickly break down in the soil so you can replant in that area. However, if you’re killing weeds in a gravel driveway, odds are you don’t want any plants to grow there. It’s essential to use a weed killer that lingers in the soil for several months. This way, you can spray to kill your existing weeds and keep new weeds from growing.
- This weed killer spray kills weeds and prevents new growth for up to 12 months.
- Long-lasting herbicides kill existing weeds and stop new ones from sprouting.
- Unlike salt, long-lasting weed killers won’t spread to other portions of your yard.
A long-lasting weed killer is a much better choice than using salt. This is because salt is easily spread through the soil by water. You may spread salt on your driveway, but rain and natural moisture will spread it through your yard, killing grass and plants all around your driveway. A long-lasting weed killer bonds with the soil and focuses on stopping plant growth in your gravel driveway alone.
A barrier of geotextile landscape fabric beneath your gravel is an incredible way to suppress weeds. Landscape fabric (sometimes called “weed mat”) is water-permeable fabric that allows drainage but is tightly woven enough that weeds can’t sprout through it. Follow these steps to install weed mat under gravel or pebbles to stop weeds.
- Install this landscape fabric beneath your gravel to stop weeds from sprouting.
- Landscape fabric is a physical barrier that smothers weeds that try to sprout at soil level.
- Always use water-permeable landscape fabric. This allows for proper drainage.
- Do not use plastic sheeting as a replacement for landscape fabric. It will cause flooding and trap standing water.
Landscape fabric not only smothers weeds that try to sprout in the soil beneath your gravel, it has several other benefits too. The fabric provides a barrier that keeps your gravel from being mixed with the soil below. Dirt mixed with gravel encourages weeds, so a barrier between soil and gravel is essential for weed control.
- Heavy-duty professional-grade construction.
- Won't break down in harsh weather conditions.
- Allows your plants to grow and thrive, while preventing unwanted weeds.
Hand weeding is still one of the best natural methods for weed control. When weeds are growing up through your gravel, use this weeding tool to uproot them. When you uproot weeds by hand, you kill them completely. This is much more effective than using homemade weed killers made with vinegar or hot water. Most homemade solutions won’t kill weed roots, but hand-weeding gets the job done right.
Flame weeders are a unique way to kill weeds growing through gravel. A flame weeder is a wandlike implement powered by propane or another heat source. The end of the flame weeder wand heats up to intense temperatures. Rather than set the weeds on fire, simply hold the wand a few inches over the weeds. The heat will destroy the plant cell barriers, killing the weed quickly.
- Use this propane-fueled flame weeder to kill weeds in gravel quickly.
- Flame weeders work by heating the air near the weed, killing it.
- Never use a flame weeder to set fire to weeds—the heat from the flames is enough to kill the plant.
- Check with local fire authorities to make sure flame weeding is safe and legal in your area.
Flame weeding is an excellent choice for gravel driveways because there are typically no desirable plants nearby. Plus, the risk of fire is often low in gravel areas. However, you should never use a flame weeder during a drought period or when the risk of wildfire is high. Check your local guidelines—flame weeding is not legal in some areas of the Western and Southwestern United States.
Install a Border
One of the main sources of weeds in gravel driveways comes from weeds and grasses that creep in from the edges of the gravel. To prevent this, install a stone, wood, or brick border along your driveway. This stops many species of weeds that invade gravel by sending runners and underground roots to invade your driveway.
- Add a border alongside your driveway to stop encroaching weeds.
- Your border can be made from metal, brick, stone, wood, or any material you desire.
- To be most effective, a gravel driveway border should be 3–5 inches (7.5–13 cm) tall.
A 3–5 inch (7.5–13 cm) tall border along your driveway will discourage weeds from invading from the edges. On top of that, a border can also make your driveway look even more finished and pristine. Adding a border is one of the best ways to stop weeds from growing through pebbles.
Add More Gravel
To work as an effective weed barrier, your gravel should be 3–5 inches (7.5–13 cm) deep. If the depth of your gravel is less than 3 inches at any point, weeds are likely to invade. To check your gravel depth, push a ruler down through the gravel until you reach the ground below. A gravel bed less than 3 inches deep needs more gravel.
- Gravel must be 3–5 (7.5–13 cm) inches deep to effectively stop invasive weeds.
- Measure your gravel depth, if it’s under 3 inches (7.5 cm), it’s time to add more gravel.
- Use a border to keep gravel from spreading out and thinning.
Gravel is prone to spreading out and thinning over time. As it does, weeds are more likely to invade. This is another problem solved by adding a border around your driveway. As the gravel tries to spread out, a border will keep it contained. This means you’ll have a longer lasting weed barrier and won’t need to add new gravel as frequently.
Even deep gravel driveways can be invaded by weeds if the gravel becomes mixed with dirt. Dirt among gravel gives weeds a place to take root. Gravel that has mixed dirt should be removed entirely. Then, you can either wash the gravel thoroughly before putting it back into place, or replace it with new, clean gravel.
- Weeds can take root in gravel if it becomes mixed with dirt.
- Installing landscape fabric beneath your gravel is one of the best ways to prevent gravel from mixing with dirt.
- If your gravel has already mixed with dirt, remove it, wash it with a hose, and then pour your gravel back into place on top of landscape fabric.
The best way to prevent dirt from mixing with gravel is by installing landscape fabric over the soil surface before pouring your gravel. Although some dirt particles will blow into your gravel areas over time, a barrier of geotextile fabric beneath your gravel stops dirt from coming up through the gravel from below.
Mistakes to Avoid When Killing Weeds in a Gravel Driveway
Some home remedies for weeds in gravel will not get rid of weeds permanently. These methods may even do more harm than good. When wiping out weeds, avoid using these tactics.
Will Salt Kill Weeds in a Gravel Driveway?
Never use a homemade weed killer with salt to kill weeds in your gravel driveway. Salt in the soil easily spreads across large areas. Even if you only add salt to your gravel driveway today, future rain and watering will cause the salt to spread out all around your driveway. This will kill any plants and grass growing near your driveway, which can destroy your lawn.
- Salt used on a gravel driveway will spread through the soil to kill grass and weeds in surrounding areas.
- Salt prevents all plants from growing in the soil for several years—if it spreads into your lawn you’ll have dead zones in your grass.
- Use a weed killer designed to kill and prevent weeds instead.
Instead of salt, use a long-lasting weed killer. Weed killers that prevent weeds from sprouting in an area for a long time are designed to bond with the soil. They won’t be carried away by water, which means they won’t harm the rest of your yard. Salt is a very poor choice because it poisons the ground for years and its spread cannot be controlled.
Does Vinegar Kill Weeds in a Gravel Driveay?
Vinegar does not kill weeds down to the root. Although the acetic acid in vinegar dries out weed leaves and stems, acetic acid is neutralized on contact with soil. So, you can’t kill weed roots with vinegar. Any weed sprayed with vinegar may appear dead for a short while, but the weed will sprout again from the roots.
Will Boiling Water Kill Weeds Growing Through Gravel on a Driveway?
Much like vinegar, boiling water struggles to kill weed roots. You may destroy the aboveground portion of the weed but it is still likely to sprout back. Instead of boiling water, try hand-weeding. Or, use this organic weed killer spray to kill weeds quickly.
- See results within 2 hours of applications.
- Easy for you to use and non-toxic.
- Approved for organic gardening.
How Do You Get Rid of Weeds and Grass in Your Gravel Driveway?
The best way to eliminate weeds and unwanted grass growth from your gravel driveway is to first kill the existing weeds with a strong weed killer. Choose a product that is designed to prevent future weed growth for up to 12 months after you spray it. You can also remove weeds through hand weeding, flame weeding, or organic weed killers.
To prevent weeds from returning, install a layer of landscape fabric under your gravel. Then, install a border alongside your driveway to stop creeping weeds. Make sure your gravel layer is 3–5 inches (7.5–13 cm) deep and add more gravel if necessary. Finally, if your gravel has been mixed with dirt, it won’t stop weeds from sprouting. Remove dirt-mixed gravel. It must either be washed before you return it to your driveway, or it should be replaced.