I hate weeds. You think you got them all and then suddenly, there is twice as many as you previously picked. It’s maddening. But the worse weeding is removing ones that are stuck between the itty bitty cracks of pavement, pavers, and sidewalks. Crabgrass and dandelions adore these spaces. Instead of cursing them, banish them using some nontoxic methods.
Natural Weed Removal Methods that haven’t worked for me:
1. Boiling water: How many of you have seen the “throw” boiling water on your weeds idea? I have tried this idea. Perennial weeds just laugh at me. By the time I get the water to a boiling temperature and then run it outside, it already cooled somewhat.
I have even tried a steamer on my weeds. Nada.
Plus, look at my patio picture above. Do you think I have time to run in and out of the door with boiling water?
2. Plain Old Vinegar: Tried this method too and it doesn’t work. Only the commercial vinegar products do some weed damage. (See below in the “Does work section.”)
Never Tried and Won’t Ever Try:
3. Salt water solution: Generally, the salt is diluted in twice as much water. Adding salt to your soil can be really damaging. However, if you do use this method, realize nothing will grow there for a couple of month.
I worry about salt migrating to other parts of my garden since my patios are surround by shrub beds.
So, I will pass on salt.
Natural Weed Killers I have Tried:
4. Commercial Vinegar Products. I have used Burnout, a commercial vinegar product, to kill weeds; however, you can only spray when it is hot and sunny. It doesn’t kill perennial weeds as easily. Read HERE about my experience.
Be careful where you store your product. The vinegar can eat through concrete!
5. Pulling out the Weeds. Of course pulling out the weeds helps but as you can see in my picture above, I would be pulling for days. I suppress the weeds in my garden using cardboard and newspaper in the early spring or late fall.
6. Corn Gluten: In the past, I have used corn gluten on my lawn. It doesn’t work in my shrub beds. With consistent usage in the spring for a period of three years, you can really dent your crabgrass infestation. Read about my experiences HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE (Yes. I write about corn gluten a lot.)
You can now buy non-GMO corn gluten too.
7. Flame the Weeds. A weed flamer is my preferred method for removing weeds from cracks in the driveway and pavers. What is a weed flamer? Watch the video below to see it in action. Basically in a nutshell, it is a propane can attached to a metal wand that burns the weeds.
I own Red Dragon VT 1-32 C 25000 BTU Mini Weed Dragon Propane Vapor Torch Kit. It is quite simple since I don’t have a farm to weed. For large areas there are larger flame weeders which you wheel around a propane can with the wand or you can wear the can on your back.
I buy extra propane cans at Home Depot or Loews.
The trick to flaming weeds is to walk slowly and brush the weed with the flame. Try and flame the weeds at the beginning of the season. Certain weeds such as crabgrass may need another round of heat to kill it.
Before you jump all over me, I know this method isn’t the greenest. However, when you have an extensive weed paver problem like I do using a weed flamer is a lot greener than using toxic Round-up. (Learn why Round-up is so toxic for the environment HERE.)
A few words of caution: You have to be careful where you flame. The heat is very intense and can start a small fire. I don’t flame weeds in my mulch, nor near my vegetable plants. You should also avoid flaming near plastic since it will melt.
This the second year we have used the weed flamer and we have noticed a decrease in weeds this year. You can buy the product I use HERE.
Join the Conversation:
How do you remove your weeds around your pavers, driveways, and gardens?
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Great Article Anna. This means keeping the lawn thick and healthy to keep weeds from having any room to grow. You can also add groundcover plants and other thick plantings to crowd out weeds in decorative beds. eseeding lawns in the fall to prevent weed growth. Since many weeds are already dead late in the season
I’ve seen adding 2 cups of Epson salt to a gallon of vinegar works better than Roundup. Haven’t tried it. Seems odd that a little Epson salt is supposed to help plants grow.
Anna@Green Talk says
I wonder about that too. I was given a similar recipe to kill poison ivy. Anna
Phillip Williams says
You may wish to consider revising your title on this one. Vinegar, is a 5% solution of glacial acetic acid, which is most certainly a chemical. On the positive side it has, like glyphosate, a very short half life in soil, begin highly biodegradable. Agricultural/horticultural vinegar (20% solution) is highly effective when applied according to label instructions.
Anna@Green Talk says
Phillip, I use the commercial vinegar and found that it doesn’t kill weeds like grass or dandelions that easily. You have to use it repeatedly on the same plant.
My pet chooks – L_O_V_E to eat flat weed and dandelions! No fighting and a little fertiliser to wash into the garden beds when they are finished!
Job done, chooks fed and fertisiing started!
I have only used salt and apple cider vinegar before. Did not even know that there are so many natural weed killers!